How I became a sustainable food systems leader
Shocked by the influence of failed American agricultural policy I witnessed, I was inspired to return to the U.S. and work towards a strong, farmer-centric, food system. I have been doing that ever since. So, along with having a great role model, the other critical component of effective leadership for me is having a passion and the belief that I can effect change. I look forward to expanding on these themes at the Breakthrough Leaders Program and discussing the kinds of leaders we need right now to build strong food systems. UVM Food Feed post.
Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm
One fateful day in 1996, after discovering that five freight cars’ worth of glittering corn have reaped a tiny profit of $18.16, young Forrest Pritchard vows to save his family’s farm. What ensues–through hilarious encounters with all manner of livestock and colorful local characters–is a crash course in sustainable agriculture. Pritchard’s biggest ally is his renegade father, who initially questions his son’s career choice and rejects organic foods for sugary mainstream fare. But just when the farm starts to turn heads at local farmers’ markets, his father’s health takes a turn for the worse. With poetry and humor, this inspiring memoir tugs on the heartstrings and feeds the soul long after the last page is turned. Amazon post. Forrest Pritchard blog.
High-tech farmers markets use Internet to connect local growers with customers
The San Francisco-based Good Eggs is among a new crop of startups using technology to bolster the market for locally produced foods that backers say are better for consumer health, farm workers, livestock and the environment. These online marketplaces are beginning to change the way people buy groceries and create new markets for small farmers and food makers. The News Tribune story.
Berkshire Grown: A Case Study of an Organization Vital in Creating a Local Food System in Western Massachusetts
As a new farmer with little experience, and new to the food and agriculture community in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, the first thing I did as I began preparations for my initial season, was to look for an organization that could aid my endeavor, and provide me with crucial support to help get me started. Within a few hours of officially signing up as a professional (farmer, restaurateur, shop owner) member of Berkshire Grown, a non-profit linking farmers and the community, both Barbara Zheutlin, the organization’s Executive Director, and Sheryl Lechner, its membership coordinator, had reached out and began helping me, a new farmer, to get up and running in the Berkshires. Huffington Post post.
Local Food Councils as Community Development Strategy
The argument is part of a larger one about sustainability, that sustainable local food systems are net-positives for public health, the environment, and local economies. Thus cultivating (pun intended) robust local food economies can (and I would argue, should) be seen as a strategy for sustainable community and economic development. An article accompanying the 2013 “Locavore Index of States” reminds us of some of the reasons why the local food movement is an important component of community development: PublicCEO.com post.
Bill would bolster Hoosier homegrown products
Restaurateurs and farmers are calling for Hoosiers to “shake the hand of the hand that feeds them” by helping them promote their products. House Bill 1039 – approved unanimously Thursday by the Agriculture and Rural Development committee – is meant to bolster a program that brands Indiana-grown produce and meat. The initiative, called Indiana Grown. Farmer and restaurateur Pete Eshelman said the bill would allow Indiana’s economy to grow and give the state a new reputation. Indianapolis Business Journal story.
Urban Farm Hub
Urban Farm Hub is a place for you to learn what’s going on in the Puget Sound region’s urban agriculture scene, pick up ideas for your own urban homesteading projects and find ways to connect with local programs with a farming bent. Website.
Best Food Forward: The region stakes a claim to culinary prominence
The Hudson Valley’s re-emergence as agricultural powerhouse and culinary paradise is indeed on everyone’s lips. As the locavore and slow food movements have grown in national prominence, partly in response to the catastrophe-ridden and depressing saga of Big Ag (cardboard tomatoes, anyone?) the region has become a bubbling stew of activity centered around every phase of local food: growing it, marketing it, cooking it, and eating it. With the rising tide of food system consciousness, our proximity to the Big Apple (named, after all, for a prominent agricultural product) has fueled recognition of the importance of rich soil, crafty microclimates, and devoted expertise. Emblematic of the shift may be the fact that within the cavernous reaches of Tech City, where IBMers once labored, one of the most successful endeavors is a food packaging facility, Farm to Table Co-Packers. Chronogram story.
Local Food for Global Thought
Global citizenship in no way takes away from one’s allegiance to state or country. To be a champion of all things local has as much to do with an awareness of how the global marketplace works as it has to do with celebrating and supporting local and regional enterprises to the fullest extent possible. Being globally thoughtful naturally translates to a stronger sense of community. Of course, we are more engaged within the neighborhoods we call home. But, when that engagement is insulated from consideration of a larger landscape, we lose the potential for significant impact of our day-to-day existence. Today, information travels across the globe in such a way that local action invariably influences global thought and vice-versa. Huffington Post essay.
Bill Would Mandate Homegrown Food in Maine Schools
Maine imports more food than any other state in the nation. Now, lawmakers are considering a proposal that could help change that. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education to help expand the use of fresh local foods in public schools. Both departments would provide grants to establish local food hubs to help connect farmers with schools. The bill also directs the Department of Education to develop food training programs for public school food service staff. WABI TV5 story.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Homegrown Hip Hop: A Song about Urban Farming
Urban farming is experiencing a renaissance. And Keith “Fathom” Cross sings about it in a catchy, current tune he wrote titled Home Grown. On his home page, the singer describes himself as a “100% Soul Vocalist; Full-Blooded Emcee; Aspiring Urban Farmer; Scholar; and, Brother to all that Exists.” About the song, he writes: This is a song about the freedom gained through growing your own. For me it is a dream which I’ve barely begun. I don’t yet have the land or the skills to make it a reality. With your support, I will get there, and continue to motivate others to do the same. Eat. Drink. Better. post.