Friday, March 14, 2008 it just a word or is it a lifestyle?

I know, two posts in two weeks...this "blog" is starting to become a habit. Let's hope that the cure is....something delicious.

This week, Mary and I were out and about in the community, spreading the word about CHC and local ag. On Tuesday, we visited the Edmonds Rotary Club, an interesting, diverse group of folks dedicated to building community and recognizing local achievements. Mary's presentation was very well received. Many of the Rotarians expressed interest in finding ways to partner in the future, including working with their "First Harvest" program.

On Wednesday, we stayed in the city and traveled to a King County Food and Fitness Initiative (KCFFI) meeting in far-off downtown Seattle (far off for us, anyway). I presented an overview of our regional food system, CHC's role and mission, and my subjective view of the future of food and farming in our region. My brief talk prompted a great group discussion, highlighted by one of the White Center community representative's frank opinion about food access issues in his community. While the meeting attendance was somewhat low, I think that the discussion helped push the group toward understanding which food systems data will be useful when we start formulating our Community Action Plan. For instance, one issue raised was that there is a perception in the target communities (and in general) that food at Farmers Markets is expensive to buy and time-consuming to prepare...two factors that push it off of most grocery lists. The question in response: are there any studies that dispel that perception? If so, we need to get our hands on them, synthesize them into an easily digestible format and get the word out. If not, do we want to commission a study? This is exactly what the group needs more of: working with the community reps to figure out how the KCFFI collaborators can help specific, community-based issues. We can only day-dream about what we'd LIKE to see happen for so long. Good to see that our community reps are active and vocal.

Last night, we we tabled at the 30th Anniversary Celebration for Seattle Tilth, our friends in philosophy and across the hall. Anna Lappe, daughter of Frances Moore Lappe, who wrote "Diet for a Small Planet,"and an author herself, spoke about issues in our national food system. It was a good speech, but I think it lacked power due to the high level of awareness and expertise in the audience. It's hard to give a speech designed for "average" citizens when you are preaching to the choir...the hardcore food/farming/environmental choir!

For me, the best part of the evening was hearing Seattle City Councilman Richard Conlin speak. Not only was he eloquent, well-rehearsed and upbeat, but his message was pitch-perfect for the choir: he presented his food system sustainability and security resolution and zero waste strategy. Too often, we hear industry buzzwords and high-minded, fanciful concepts from our "leaders." It's always exciting when a politician is able to accurately and insightfully talk the talk. We shall see if he can walk the walk.


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