Wishes, Directions, Steps from Four Food System Leaders
As noted in the cliffhanger ending of Lessons from the Lafayette Seminar on Public Issues, each of the four expert panelists who took part in From Whose Farm to Whose Table? described the immediate focus of her/his own work and identified steps supporters of sound local food systems can take to make a difference.
Mac Stone of Elmwood Stock Farm sees increasing the supply of local food as an important focus. He urged more support for CSAs and more purchases of locally grown food, more buying of existing crops so farmers will grow more. He said,
"In farming, it's hard for us to do our part and the community's part, too. If the community will buy more, we can sell more, and then we will plant more."
Mac noted that all orchards in Kentucky sell out of the apples they produce. There is no surplus. To encourage orchardists to grow more trees, which requires years of investment before the first fruit matures, keep buying what they sell now.
Karyn Moskowitz of New Roots and Fresh Stop Project in Louisville is working on increasing cooperatives as a purchasing model, expanding the Fresh Stop project to year-round, targeting the new Veggie Rx project to a child's crucial first 1,000 days, and starting a Farm-to-Daycare project. Her proposed step would also be welcome in Lexington:
"We need all the churches to get along with each other. . . We need pastors and people of faith to stand up and say 'Food is the justice issue of our generation.'"
Ashton Potter Wright, Lexington's local food coordinator, suggested we ask for local food wherever we go, and encourage kids in school and people using hospitals and institutions to ask "What's local here?" She urged,
"Vote with your food dollars."
Jim Embry, director of Sustainable Communities Network, described his work to plant fruit trees, flowers, and a Monarch butterfly way station on the farm where he lives. He encouraged people to learn about Monarch way stations and make their own.
The final session of this year's Lafayette Seminar, Thinking Big: Local Food & Large Institutions, takes place Thursday, October 9 at 5:30 PM at the W.T. Young Library Auditorium & Gallery on the University campus. Panelists include Sarah Fritschner, Coordinator, Louisville Farm to Table; John-Mark Hack, Executive Director, Local Food Association; Lee Meyer, Professor, UK College of Agriculture, Food, & Environment; and Tony Parnigoni, Region Vice President, Aramark Corporation. Learn more here, and plan to stay for a reception that features local and Kentucky Proud foods.