Posted Friday, May 7, 2010
As Americans pay more attention to what and how much they eat, some are also taking more notice of where their food comes from. There are signs consumers, restaurants, grocery stores want increased access to locally grown food and are seeking new production and business models to make that happen. Friday morning at 9 we bring you a special presentation about the local food movement in Northeast Ohio. Why does local food matter? What would it take to help the industry's growth? Tune in for answers from a forum recorded at The City Club of Cleveland (April 27, 2010).
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Another great resource for locally-sourced food: Nature’s Bin of Lakewood. They have a 30-year tradition of providing local food to the community. Plus they have a mission to assist the handicapped in the workforce. Win-win.
Excellent program. Two comments:
1) The cost of food needs to be viewed in the larger context. Given its fundamental relationship to health, it’s really a “pay me now, or pay me later” situation. More simply, the health care costs resulting form eating poor quality food far outweigh the up-front cost of “fancy tomatoes.
2) In terms of the role of government and educating consumers, people need to be aware of legislative trends that at face value promote “food safety.” However, when you look beneatht the surface, they are really motivated by larger, more politically influential industrail producers to make it increasingly difficult for smaller, local producers to compete (or even remain in business). This is 180 degrees opposite from the direction we need to be moving. We need to take back our food!
That was a great show, and it would indeed be good to hear from farmers. I believe NYC has quite a program for supporting electronic funds transfer (e.g. food stamps) for farmers markets. See http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/ebt.htm . Also, probably many of you know leda meredith’s Urban Homestead blog http://ledameredith.net/wordpress/ and her great book The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget http://ledameredith.net/wordpress/?page_id=811
Wonderful discussion. I was, however, disappointed that none of the participants included in “buying local”, the serious issue of lessening our carbon footprint. One of the advantages of buying local, instead of buying apples from New Zealand, is to drastically reduce the use of all that oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, for instance. I know Americans love their raspberries in December, but also the issue of eating what is in season should be included in our education. I realize it will be a long, tough “row to hoe”, however, we must begin sooner than later. Thank you for bringing this program to the public.
Debrah Butler, Kent Farmers Mkt. participant
Great show! I manage the Tremont Farmers’ Market and was thrilled turn on the radio to hear this discussion; this is a conversation that needs to happen for so many reasons, and it needs to include as many different people as possible, farmers, consumers, rich, poor; everybody needs to be involved in order to create the changes we all know is necessary to turn around our food system and our local economy.
There are so many things I could add, but I wanted to let folks know that many farmers’ markets are participating in subsidy programs. Mary Holmes mentioned that the Tremont Farmers’ Market accepts EBT (food stamps), but we also accept WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Coupons and Seniors Coupons, as do quite a few other independent farmers’ markets in the area, including Kamm’s Corners and Coit Road Farmers’ Market, and the Gordon Square FM. It’s best to contact the markets individually to confirm what programs they are involved with, as I know only 3 of the independent markets currently accept EBT, but a handful are working on getting signed up with the program. As all of us running independent farmers’ markets are operating on less than shoe string budgets, we are trying to figure out ways to let folks who can benefit from these programs know that we do participate and that we also welcome anyone of any income level at our markets.
Please let folks out there know!
And thank you for hosting this discussion, I look forward to hearing more.
Jody Lathwell, TFM Market Manager
The Coit Road Farmers’ Market takes food stamps and was the first in the region to work with WIC. There’s also the EC Grows community garden on the Market property and some market gardening. Local food in the market, local food in the gardens, local food at home.
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