Fresh food is tasty and nutritious. Why not have a whole lot more of it?
Transition Town State College (TTSC) is kicking off the new growing season with a Local Food Forum: Developing our Local Food System and Security. The event will be April 3rd, 7 pm, room 201, State College Borough Building, 243 South Allen Street, State College. The format will be open dialog. An exciting new project, “A Guide for the First Year of Local Food,” will be launched at this meeting. The event is free and open to everyone.
TTSC is promoting a dramatic increase in local food production and use. USDA figures tell us that, on the average, less than one percent of food is produced locally. Why not increase that to 10 – 25 – 50% and more? Could we do that? Should we do that? How can we do that? What would it say about our quality of life? That is what we are going to discuss.
There are many good reasons for producing more food locally. Fresh food taste better. It is more nutritious. It is produced by people we know. We have far more say about how it is grown, about chemical use and about control of pathogens. It is good for local business. It provides jobs. It produces revenues to support local governments, schools and investments. It helps build a stronger community.
Many of us worry about environmental, energy and economic issues impacting the quality of our lives. Local food is part of the Transition Towns response to addressing these issues. More local food improves our food security. It can be produced with less fossil fuel input. It can reduce our carbon footprint. It is an incentive to restore and preserve the land. It makes us more aware of nature; of land, water and climate. And a lot more.
Local food includes everything from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to farmers markets to home gardens and community gardens. Local food producers would love to sell more and we are all looking for great buys in local products. Many of us are active gardeners and for those who would like to start or help others start gardening there are great programs such as Garden Starters and Spring Creek Homesteading. Several churches have started gardening projects to support food banks. We are working on getting more small community gardens into production. Penns Valley gardeners are expanding their great Learning Garden at Millhiem. Bellefonte established an edible garden in the park last year. Interfaith Power and Light has a Cool Harvest program. It’s going to be even more exciting this year.
The 2012 growing season looks like it is going to start early: The National Weather Service has forecast a warmer spring for the Lower 48 and we have certainly taken note of a warmer winter. It is time to get started, to bring our community together, to produce greater food security and to enjoy the bounties of Nature.
Join us to help launch this new season. Looking forward to seeing you April 3rd.
Check out the Transition Town State College Facebook page for more information.