[Market-farming] Local Food

Brigette Leach avalonfarmshomegrown at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 24 17:04:45 EST 2003

A late comment on Bill's point a while back. We attended the Seeds of
Prosperity Conference held last week at Crystal Mountain in northern
Michigan. We learned much and met many. You can check it out at

At one of the workshops Dr. Larry Lev, Oregon State University, made a
point that fringe agriculture would not gain by criticizing mainstream
agriculture, but by being unique and offering more to those who are
looking. Further, he suggested that we focus on policy opportunities for
local food. After reading postings now for several weeks it seems clear
that public policy changes that benefit small and family farm operations
could be a more productive exercise than pitting large against small,
conventional v. organic, etc., etc. I would think that even small changes
at the local level, such as zoning regs, would have a positive impact on
local agriculture. It's obvious that policy changes need to be made in
dealing with FSA, but that's just the tip of the iceberg...what about state
and federal tax policies, other land use issues, food safety regs...you get
the picture. One of the biggest impediments to creating added value
products from our hydroponic tomato crop is the licensed kitchen
regulations here in Kalamazoo county. If I didn't have to deal with their
inspectors, I might be more inclined to pursue those opportunities. As it
is we just can't afford to install all the equipment that they currently
require and I know that I have better things to do than get frustrated
dealing with inspectors.

Anyway, and this is just my opinion, but I think that criticizing others is
just a vehicle to make us feel better, like we're doing something, while it
actually prevents us from dealing with real issues. Yes, we all feel the
need to vent frustrations now and again, but too many of us don't do
anything beyond that to actually initiate CHANGE.

> [Original Message]
> From: Bill Shoemaker <wshoemak at inil.com>
> To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
 > Date: 10/27/2003 10:22:14 AM
> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Local Food
> I think that the local food campaign should stand on it's own, with local
> organic and conventional direct-market growers working together. Both have
> products that are superior to the wholesale norm and can benefit the
> consumer as well as themselves. There is a real need to educate the
> on the benefits of super-fresh produce. All local producers should be
> on this issue.
> Bill Shoemaker
> Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
> Univ of Illinois - St Charles Hort Research Center
> >
> >>The Cornucopia Project was an early attempt by Rodale about 25 years ago
> to re
> >>establish local dominance to food production, The idea was attacked and
> >>defeated by big western agriculture which stood to be the biggest
> looser.Bob.
> >
> >I do think that separating 'local food' from 'organic food'
> >would be useful at least in the initial stages of a
> >local-food-self-reliance project.  Rodale wouldn't be the
> >best people to do this.
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--- Brigette Leach
--- avalonfarmshomegrown at earthlink.net
--- EarthLink: The #1 provider of the Real Internet.

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