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Feeding Ourselves - An Idea Spreads

Downy seedsWith warm weather and two days of gentle rain, I can hear the motor on the 2009 growing season moving from a little whisper toward a big roar. I find myself looking for energy to match it. As I took frozen applesauce out of our freezer last night, I could see there are fewer than a half dozen packages left. The frozen blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries now fill only part of one deep bin, instead of three. I confess - I felt a few moments of dread about the work of summer, all the washing, cooking, smoothing and straining, all the packaging and late nights.

I believe the old folks would prescribe a spring tonic - probably some kind of bitter greens like the dandelions sprouting all over my yard and neighborhood. I may try that tonic. In addition, though, when I finish a long-running project next week and can turn more attention to the world of food, I expect I'll perk up just by association with the spring tornado of energy now swirling around all the new initiatives to help us all feed ourselves and all in our communities with fresh, local food.

Just a few examples:

The White House garden, of course

A similar effort now underway to encourage edible gardens at all states' governors' mansions. I have heard tidbits about some people getting to work on this effort in Kentucky, and will report more if I learn more.

New interest in using institutional grounds for food production, as at Maxwell Street Presbyterian, where a garden goes in this Saturday

New planning efforts aimed at helping large cities eat from their region. After years of work by advocates, Louisville's Economic Development Department has taken leadership in investigating the unlimited wins -- improved health, more resilient economy, revitalized communities -- that could result when Louisville's eaters buy food from their region's farmers.

New education opportunities for children and adults, like Lexington's Seedleaf and Louisville's Food Literacy Project, along with venerable Cooperative Extension programs like the blueberry class I took this week in which every one of the classroom's 90 seats filled.

New Farmers Market season - aaaaaaah yes!!! Lexington Farmers Market opens on April 11 in a new location, Cheapside Park, right in the very center of town. Blue Moon Farm promises to have its fabulous baby green garlic there on opening day. Right on time - there's a spring green tonic I can love.

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