Saturday, February 6, 2010

Recap of the Fresh Food Forum at Brown, One Man's Opinion

First off, kudos to the Farm Fresh people for putting this event on, good speakers, variety and networking opps too. The local farm and food movement is certainly strong in Rhody and regionally as well. I had the opportunity to engage a few fellow participants and thought almost all of them were passionate about what they are doing, a refreshing change from my former corporate world.
My overriding concern is the focus on the "food deserts" and driving sales of fresh in those areas with SNAP, EBT, WIC, etc.. I'm not opposed to any of these programs or the need to improve the diet of these communities, the upside in health and reduction in associated costs would be a good thing; I am struggling with the lack of effort/funding to increase fresh local sustainable food to the rest of the population, the larger group that has the ability to choose because they have the income to do so.
If farms are to survive and expand,(more small sustainable farms, not large industrial ones) there needs to be a allocation of resources to make that happen. The Farmers market has to be a year round part of the shopping experience, an incentive to make it a habit rather than a novelty stop in the day. Farmers new and old have to make a fair income for what they produce, they should not earn at a level that would qualify them for SNAP.
The CSA business model is one way to drive farm income up without forcing industrialization. What other ideas are out there? The Public Market, can it stand alone or does it need to be quasi governmental? Local food in the schools, schools growing their own?
I put this out there to encourage discussion and exchange of ideas, let the thinking begin.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Latest Flyer, actually a postcard blown up

Here is the latest flyer for the market, actually a postcard I made up to hand out at the RI Food Forum which I am attending Wednesday at Brown. Should be fun I plan on learning and recruiting. Sneaky Sneaky......