Whole Foods’ Local Move: Just One Dish in the Feast of Cultural Change
The Times article casts local sourcing as a major reason for Whole Foods’ success, and that is true. Consumers love local. They also appreciate Whole Foods’ organic, sustainable, seasonal, ethnic and authentic (food with a story) offerings. All of these attributes and more are part of consumers’ broad evolution toward higher-quality foods. The terms change in meaning and popularity, but taken together, they reach a large cross-section of shoppers who together are marching toward better eating. Hartman Group article.
If given a chance, small-scale farms could make a difference in solving hunger problem
My own two cents’ worth came in an address at Maine’s Common Ground Country Fair titled “It’s a Cute Little Movement, but Can It Feed the World?” I’d been provoked by a flood of articles declaring that only large-scale, industrial, biotech farms can save our increasingly overpopulated planet. That small farms and gardens cannot do that has become a mantra, self-replicating its merry way to pseudo-truth. Plenty of studies prove otherwise, and the one that does the best job of exploding the myth is the massive effort, launched in 2002 by the World Bank, called the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, or IAASTD. Washington Post post.
Do Restaurants Cater to Locapours?
When we are asking consumers would they buy local broccoli, we don’t think the intent if the question is to ask “Will you buy local broccoli even if the quality is not as good as California broccoli?” We think the premise is that the quality will be equal, and that the question should be: “If we can grow local broccoli that is just as tasty and delicious as California broccoli, would you prefer it? Would you pay a premium for it?” This question can be applied to any produce item. In such a case, consumers usually answer pro-local because the idea that it is local implies certain things to consumers: 1) It will be fresher, 2) It will be less expensive because of savings in shipping, 3) It will be better for the environment because of less shipping and related carbon output, and 4) it will help enrich the local community. With wine you are not dealing with a parity product so the question is somewhat different. A Cornell Study On New York Wines Raises A Fresh Question: What Do We Mean When We Ask About Local? Perishable Pundit post.
New York State Food Purchasing Guidelines
Laws authorizing and encouraging governmental procurement that preferences NY products. The legislation was first directed at schools, then was expanded to include state agencies (as well as the State University system), and now encompasses local municipal governments as well. Federal rules were recently changed to make it easier to encourage local purchasing at K-12 schools as well, by saying that schools may exercise a preference for local foods when they are using federal dollars provided through the National School Lunch Program. Mayor’s Office of Contract Services post.
Farm to School Programs Coming to the Region
The Loup Basin RC&D Council and the Center for Rural Affairs are coming together to start Farm to School programs. These programs will benefit the children by providing fresh, locally produced food to schools and benefit local farmers by opening new markets for them. According to Starkweather, two-thirds of school children eat a national School Lunch Program lunch and consume about one third of their total daily calories from this meal and currently that food travels between 2,500 and 4,000 miles before reaching their plates. Center for Rural Affairs post.
Shoppers’ attitudes & motivations to sustainable diets
Shoppers are feeling more empowered about sustainable diets, but still require industry to take the lead in this area and to inspire them. Nearly half of shoppers say healthy options are important compared to one in five that consider ethical factors. More shoppers than in 2009 feel able to positively influence their health, British farmers, the local economy and the way animals are treated through their grocery shopping decisions. Sustainability plays an important role when shoppers are choosing between products. Shoppers expect industry to take responsibility on nutrition and the environment, to inspire them and provide information to help them make informed choices. IGD (UK) report.
Food Policy Network Resource List
Food policy work—and progress—is occurring across the U.S. at many levels, including state, city, county, and tribal jurisdictions. There has even been some work done in a federal capacity. This resource list represents some of that food policy work in the form of action plans, how-to guides, ordinances, academic studies and more as they are executed at all levels of government. Center for a Liveable Future. post.
The Role of Food Hubs in Food Supply Chains
The dramatic rise of the “local foods” market and the need for sustainable local food value chains has correspondingly led to innovative solutions designed to meet this burgeoning demand. Food hubs are just one of the local entities increasing in number across the U.S. and being used to facilitate a closer connection between producers and consumers. Despite their popularity and increasing numbers, there exists comparatively little systematic research regarding food hubs; for example, investigation into the primary impetus for the formation of food hubs and local food chains, best practices, demonstrated impacts on the community, coexistence with current food supply chains, food safety, and the long-term viability of such entities have been explored only minimally in current literature. This commentary provides a brief context to present relevant questions for further research in the emerging trend of food hubs. Journal of Agriculture, Food systems and Community Development abstract.
Forget the golf course, subdivisions build around farms
A new model for suburban development is springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement. Farms, complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees, are serving as a way to entice potential buyers to settle in a new subdivision. It’s called development-supported agriculture, a more intimate version of community-supported agriculture – a farm-share program commonly known as CSA. In the planning process of a new neighborhood, a developer includes some form of food production – a farm, community garden, orchard, livestock operation, edible park – that is meant to draw in new buyers, increase values and stitch neighbors together. Harvest Public Media article.
Payment for forest ecosystem services: a case study in Finland
Tourists would be willing to pay for increased biodiversity and reduced clear-felling in forests, a recent Finnish case study suggests. In a survey of over 900 visitors to Lapland, most stated that they felt landscape quality and biodiversity were important, and that they would be happy to pay their share for preserving these qualities. Europe Science for the Environment post.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Peterson brothers spoof Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’
Their version of Perry’s US chart topper – “Chore” – details the daily farming chores the brothers get up to on their livestock farm in Kansas. The latest tune features the three brothers Nathan, Greg and Kendal and the singing talents of the fourth sibling, Laura. The brothers’ other parodies “I’m Farming and I Grow It” and “Farmer Style” and “A Fresh Breath of Farming Air” have notched up more than 23 million hits on video-sharing site You Tube. Last month, the brothers sang their parodies to more than 4,000 young farmers at a concert in Hannover, Germany. YouTube video.