Around the nation there is a growing interest in eating local food. Two weeks ago Fox Haven held a meeting with local farmers and others interested in growing more, selling more and eating more local food. We released not only data from a local grower survey, but also heard from experts in the field about the local movement around the nation. See Will Gray’s presentation here to learn more.
Please join us at Fox Haven on March 18th for the survey response summary, to learn of ongoing efforts and to discuss ways we can grow more, sell more and eat more local food.
Grow More, Sell More, Eat More Local Food
Community Food Survey Follow Up Meeting -Frederick, Washington, Carroll Counties
6:30-7:00 pm Introductions (committee) and survey response presentation/discussion
7:00- 7:30 pm Clarify regional interest in increasing local food aggregation/distribution and processing
- · The Wallace Center at Winrock Intl/National Good Food Network (Will Gray)
- · Washington Regional Food Funders (Lindsay Smith/colleague)
- · USDA Rural Development (Letitia Nichols)
- · MDH2E/MD Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (awaiting confirmation)
- · Farm to School (awaiting confirmation)
7:30-8:00 pm Present examples of ongoing efforts to improve local food aggregation, distribution and processing
- Hometown Harvest (Tony Brusco)
- Capital Sustainability (Andrew Aurbach/Sophia Maroon/ Dress it up Dressing)
- Coastal Sunbelt Produce (Jason Lambros)
8:00-8:30 pm Discuss options for our region, and with sufficient interest discuss follow up, leadership, next meeting etc. (Dick Stoner )
- what are primary interests?
- who would like to be on a committee to follow up?
- when should we meet next?
ANNOUNCE RAFFLE PRIZE WINNERS: must be present to win!
Please RSVP: email@example.com 240 490 5484 (office)
The Washington Regional Food Funders (WRFF) formed in 2011 to build/remove barriers to a more equitable food system in our region. That means increasing opportunities for small and medium-sized farmers within the communities of the broader Chesapeake Foodshed, and supplying that locally grown healthy food to the people living within it.
The Greater Washington area is the definition used by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG). [One MWCOG report found that] products grown in Greater Washington comprised little of the total food sold here.
To address that, the WRFF has the following goals:
Goal 1: Elevate policy solutions and opportunities for action and aligned investment in the supply side of our region’s food system – from production to aggregation and distribution – to advance equitable workforce solutions and sustainable practices.
Goal 2: Identify opportunities for action and investment to support increased demand for good food among regional consumers, particularly for those who do not currently have access to good food.
Goal 3: Maintain and expand a strong community of diverse funders with interdisciplinary interests to broaden the coalition committed to regional action to eliminate barriers to good food.
At the recent Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, Dr Chris D’Adamo, Ph.D. gave a presentation “Food as Medicine…in the REal World” – a holistic presentation on good and not so good eating habits and practices.
Dr. Adamo is Assistant Professor in University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, Department of Family & Community Medicine Department of Epidemiology & Public Health Director of Research Center for Integrative Medicine.
Winter Workshop Series
Future Harvest CASA’s Foodshed Field School and Beginner Farmer Training Program kick off tomorrow with a winter workshop series: Starting a Small, Intensive Commercial Farm for Local Markets.
Learn farming fundamentals, from business planning to soil health to crop selection.
Participants who complete the series will receive a certificate of completion, issued by Futre Harvest CASA and UMD Extension.
Jan. 28, 6:30 – 9:00 pm: Marketing Essentials: A Key Part of the Business Plan
Mark Powell and Ginger Myers
Feb. 4, 6:30 – 8:45 pm: Methods and Management of Season Extension Using High Tunnel Production
Dave Martin and John Foster
Feb. 11 6:30 – 8:45 pm: Strategies for Pest Management and Examples of Pest Management Success
Jerry Brust and Jack Gurley
Feb. 18, 6:30 – 8:45 pm: Soil Fertility, Nutrient Management, and Conservation on the Small Farm
Trish Steinhilner, Vinnie Bevivino, and Jim Ensor
Feb. 25, 6:30 – 8:45 pm: Cover Crops, Planning and Rotations
Chuck Schuster, Rick Hood, and Tim Clippinger
Mar 4, 6:30 – 8:45 pm: Business Planning and Financial Management for Your Small Farm
Dale Johnson and Will Morrow
Mar 11, 6:30 – 8:45 pm: Integrating Livestock into a Small Farm
Susan Schoenian and Lisa Duff
Mar 18, 6:30 – 8:45 pm: Small Farm Business and Marketing Experiences Panel
Beginner Farmer Training Program Graduates: Laura Beth Resnick, David Paulk, and John Dove
March 25, 6:30 – 8:45 pm: Quality Assurance, Post-Harvest Handling and Other Certifications
Dave Martin and Joan Norman
Every winter, Future Harvest CASA holds the largest sustainable agriculture conference in the lower Mid-Atlantic. This year, we have added an extra day of hands-on, pre-conference workshops: beekeeping basics, food photography and styling, fermentations, wet hopping — and much more!
And then the conference starts, with session after session on:
- Bay-saving farming
- Innovative growing practices: fruit, vegetable, livestock
- ABC’s for beginning farmers — including business planning
- Where and how to source local and sustainable food
- The who and how behind the local libation boom: beer, wine, cider, and spirits
- Fresh food and health
- How we can build a better, stronger, more profitable foodshed
- Food hub 101
- How to become a locavore chef
- Local cocktail hour, local food dinners
- and much more
Check it out….we’ll be there!
Throughout the year people come to Fox Haven Organic Farm and Learning Center to pick food from the garden, make meals, eat and talk about it Sometimes the conversation turns to why there isn’t more local food for sale in grocery stores, restaurants, and schools? Is it because supply is limited? People ask why local food is healthier? And, what are the environmental benefits of buying local? Does seeking out and buying local food really matter?
We think it does, and apparently we aren’t alone.
U.S. communities have begun organizing to support local food production, aggregation, marketing, and distribution. In 2008 local food sales were estimated to be $4.8 billion; projections had that number climbing to $7 billion in 2012 (2013 Washington Regional Convergence Partnership report). The markets for food sales included grocery, retail, restaurant, farmers markets and institutions. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its “Know your Farmer. Know your Food” initiative, recently announced $52 million available to support local and regional food systems and encourage research on organic farming. The Wallace Foundation’s National Good Food Network actively researches and reports on case studies, models and lessons to foster moving “good healthy, green, fair, affordable food beyond the direct-marketing realm into larger scale markets so that more producers benefit, more communities have greater access to good food, and a greater number of acres are managed through sustainable practices.”
The answers to consumer questions lie in the growing number of value-based businesses founded on the benefits of providing locally produced food to their communities. We’ve harvested the words of some of those closer to home to explain why local food is so good.
Hometown Harvest is a Frederick County business that delivers bags of fresh local goods throughout the DC Metro area. They do not waiver on their high standards. As they say “It’s not enough for farmers to simply be certified organic…we demand that farming practices renew and benefit the environment or we will not buy produce from that farm.” The owners, Tony and Abby Brusco, insist on pasture-raised poultry and meats “not just because they taste better and are more nutritious, but because grazing animals maintain the quality of the land…”
Farms and Friends in Howard County puts together weekly baskets for customers of fresh local meat, seafood, dairy, bread, fruits and vegetables and delivers the baskets to a pick up site. They describe themselves as “a group of frustrated farmers and disgruntled consumers” who wanted to get fresh, local and regional foods conveniently into the hands of consumers at good prices year-round. They work with the producers and know how food is produced. They sell seasonally available goods and say “eating with the seasons is not only a tasty way to live, it is also economical.”
The Local Food Hub serving areas around Charlottesville VA offers “a smarter, healthier alternative to traditional agribusiness models by reinstating small farms as the food source for the community.” This food hub has made great strides at getting grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, spinach, apples, kale, broccoli, butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash, gold and red potatoes, apple cider, and peppers into schools in their region, and since 2009 services 70 public schools in eight districts, as well as private schools and universities.
These businesses and many more have developed systems that do for local produce what large grocery stores and chains have done for food that comes from afar. This is an economic opportunity that centralizes and facilitates collection of local (fresh) food and delivers it to our homes, grocery stores, school cafeterias, restaurants and institutions of all sorts.
Frederick County’s Virtual Farmer’s Market online moves consumers closer to knowing what is available near to home. But with a movement afoot to shift local food access beyond direct-marketing, more could be done in Frederick County to take part. This month Fox Haven and several other interested individuals and organizations launched a survey to learn about production potential. If you produce food for sale please take part in the online survey.
As consumers, all of us might consider supporting our local economy, environment and our own health as we buy food, jams, holiday wreaths and trees for this holiday season – or any time!
Fox Haven invites you to join in one of several garden to table dinners we will be hosting in 2015. Together we prepare and share the locally harvested bounty in a group dinner at the Fox Haven Organic Farm and Learning Center. See details online: foxhavenfarm.org.
The National Good Food Network recently published an enlightening and encouraging report directed to food industry executives on the importance of regional food hubs to help smaller farms and supply consumer demand for local food. Read the report: Small-Farm Aggregators Scale Up With Larger Buyers