Posts Tagged: local food
Responding to Napa County's higher-than-average interest in healthy foods, sustainable principles and wellness lifestyle, the board of supervisors last year created a Local Food Advisory Council. Now the council is looking for citizen input to pursue new initiatives, according to a blog on the Napa County Register website.
Monica Cooper, director of the Napa County University of California Cooperative Extension, is an ex-officio member of the council. Cooper is the county’s viticulture farm advisor and a big champion of expanding local food production, according to a previous article in the newspaper.
“It’s important to have more crop diversity,” Cooper was quoted in the story, and she sees that in small plots, not wide swaths of the county.
Napa's Local Food Advisory Council has identified three priority areas and is seeking volunteers to serve on subcommittees for:
- Education and Outreach: Help design communications networks to encourage public involvement and information sharing, such as advocacy programs, printed materials, events, website, social media, etc.
- Local Food Production and Distribution: Help develop mutually beneficial food supply systems linking local farmers to community kitchens, markets and residents;
- Food Policy: Help influence and communicate county rules, regulations and fees for growing, selling and/or donating food products by both home and commercial producers.
Napa's soil, climate, natural resources and culture position the community to make a positive impact promoting locally grown food and healthful consumption.
Nevada County's first Sustainable Local Food and Farm Conference, slated for this Saturday, is already a sell out, testifying to the growing interest in local food production in this Sierra Nevada foothill community.
Strong grassroots efforts to link consumers with farmers are making Nevada County a force in the foothills, according to an article about the conference in The Union.
“It's one of the more advanced areas. There's kind of that mindset already here,” the article quotes Roger Ingram, county director and farm advisor for UC Cooperative Extension in Nevada, Sierra and Placer counties.
Keynote speaker at the event is Joel Salatin, a self-described "Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic farmer." Salatin's Virginia farm is featured prominently in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma and the documentaries Food Inc. and Fresh.
Salatin’s philosophy of farming emphasizes healthy grass on which animals can thrive in a symbiotic cycle of chemical-free feeding, according to Wikipedia. Cows are moved from one pasture to another rather than being centrally corn fed. Then chickens in portable coops are moved in behind them, where they dig through the cow dung to eat protein-rich fly larvae while further fertilizing the field with their droppings.
According to the Union article, the Nevada local food movement gained steam in 2005 when a small band of farmers, advocates and citizens - including UC Cooperative Extension in Nevada County - started the Local Food Coalition, and from that Nevada County Grown.
“There just seems to be this great burgeoning interest in this,” said Jeri Ohmart, Food Systems and Organic Outreach Program Assistant for the University of California's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, based at UC Davis.
Nationally known farmer Joel Salatin is a keynote speaker at the local food conference.
The movement in Lake County to encourage local citizens to consume locally produced agricultural products got a boost last month when a diversity of experts brought in ideas that have worked elsewhere in the state, according to a story in Lake County News.
Food systems analyst Gail Feenstra of the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program explained how schools in Davis, Calif., increased students' fruit and vegetable consumption by tying the salad bar selections to school garden lessons.
To help fund the program, the coordinators turned food scraps into compost for the gardens. By reducing the amount of garbage, they saved the district $60,000 – enough to fund their positions and subsidize the gardens.
City of Davis voters also passed a parcel tax to help subsidize the program, finding it worthwhile to ensure all students were served nutritious lunches made from locally grown foods, the article said.
Shermain Hardesty, extension specialist for agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis, presented information at the gathering on establishing local food systems.
"Building things from scratch, by yourself, costs money. Look for partnerships using existing resources," Hardesty was quoted in the article.
She led an interactive exercise asking participants what was missing in Lake County's local food system, with grains, meat and dairy the most often mentioned. The group then discussed what infrastructure was needed to create local industries that would meet these needs.
Other projects supporting local agriculture addressed at the workshop were:
- The Lake County Community Co-Op, an online distribution system that enables members to order certified organic products directly from local producers
- “Lake County Grown,” sponsored by Lake County Farm Bureau, for online ordering of local produce
- The LAVA Center, which buys overages and blemished produce from farmers and adds value by turning it into another product, such as sauces or chutneys.
UC Davis and UC Berkeley were listed among the nation's 286 greenest colleges in a recent report by the Princeton Review. In fact, eight UC colleges made the list.
The Sacramento Bee last Saturday ran a story about Sacramento area colleges that the Review called green, including UC Davis, Chico State and University of the Pacific.
"We're not doing it to be trendy," UC Davis chemical engineering professor Roger Boulton told reporter Laurel Rosenhall about the green practices to be employed in a UC Davis winery under construction.
In fact, the article noted that a key driver of college campus greening is the students themselves.
"For a lot of students, the environmental issues are a way they feel they can be heard and make a difference," the article quoted a Sacramento college education consultant.
UC Davis was also lauded in the Princeton Review for sourcing campus food from local farms. "Twenty-one percent of the university’s food expenditures are from local or organic sources," the publication reported. The Sac Bee said the dining hall's locally grown fruits and veggies cut down the pollution from trucking food long distances.In addition to being named in the top 286, UC Berkeley appeared on the Princeton Review's 11-campus "Green Honor Roll" in recognition of its ambitious greening efforts. Berkeley is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2014. To meet the target, the campus will complete over 200 energy efficiency projects, the Review said. And the university’s primary food service operator was the first in the country to receive organic certification. Organic salad bars are a staple at campus dining facilities.
UC Davis' Dutton Hall.