I’m putting on an event for Left of Center on Tuesday night here in C’ville. It’s about three topics that are important to me: food, local economies, and sustainability. Here’s the description we’re circulating:
Tuesday, June 2, 7:00pm at Rapture (Facebook RSVP)
Is the local food movement a passing fad for the wealthy, or is it possible that it can permanently alter how we all eat, work, and live? How do we expand it beyond weekly sales in parking lots to something accessible to—and affordable by—everybody? Kate Collier, an owner of Feast! and Founding Director of the Local Food Hub, and Melissa Wiley, Director of the Piedmont Environmental Council’s Buy Fresh Buy Local program, will speak about the direction that the movement needs to take in order to overcome these hurdles. They’ll address how local food initiatives can succeed in having a lasting impact on preserving open farmland, supporting endangered small family farm businesses, and promoting agricultural diversity and sustainable environmental practices.
Come on out, join some friends for a beer and join the discussion.
Many thanks to C’ville Market / Cavalier Produce, Horse & Buggy Produce and Integral Yoga Natural Foods for co-sponsoring this event.
I’m particularly glad to have Kate Collier and Melissa Wiley speaking. They were my first two choices for speakers, and I feel really lucky that they’re both willing and able to participate. I really hope that y’all who are in the Charlottesville area will come out for this.
That’s an excellent topic to discuss. It would be nice if a family of five making under $60,000 per year could afford to eat without shopping at Food Lion or Wal*Mart, but it’s simply not possible.
What a great topic, Waldo. I look forward to it – see you tomorrow night!
How did it go? That is a real dilemma – local farmers need to make a living and consequently charge prices that can seem shockingly high compared to supermarket specials, yet they still barely get by. It seems that mass food production, paid for in part by incredibly cheap labor and subsidies (water, land values, etc.) and environmental degradation (use of pesticides that local farmers do not use), wins by a large margin the price battle against local farmers who contend with high land value (read higher taxes), little in the way of subsidies and expensive labor.
It actually went really well, Chris. We had north of 100 people there, the speakers were engaging, and we learned really encouraging things about what’s being done to expand the availability of local food.
Though the speakers didn’t say this, I walked away with the thought that it’s probably necessary for some local farms to use non-organic practices. That seems like the least-expensive method of increasing yield, necessary in order to lower costs enough to make local produce affordable by low- and middle-income customers. The alternative—somehow lowering the cost of all produce enough make it affordable—would make farming an even less economically viable career than it is now.
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