Saturday, March 13, 2010

10% Local Food?

A movement is afoot called "10 Percent Washtenaw" -- the purpose, to encourage people to look for food grown here in Washtenaw County, Michigan. The quantitative goal is to expand both growing facilities and purchasers, and in 10 years have 10% of the food budget of county residents going to local food. (It's now around 1%.)

Not only mentioning the benefits of local food, but also setting real goals, seems like a good idea to me. I like to shop at the Ann Arbor farmer's market -- one of my most recent fall trips is illustrated in these photos. However, I can't say I keep track of what I spend here there or anywhere. Budgeting my food purchases isn't really in my routine. But I'd be willing to try to keep track for a good reason.

What I also like about this idea is the wide number of reasons given that local food is a positive thing. An increase in local purchases would sustain the local economy. Though individual results differ, more local purchasing ultimately could reduce the total "carbon footprint." Local produce offers better quality and freshness. The initiative encourages organic production, and brings people together in a positive way.

Some of the benefits would be multiplied as more people committed to local buying. The hope: more produce farmers, egg and chicken farmers, producers of honey and maple syrup, fish-farmers, and raisers of lamb, beef, pork and even buffalo. Maybe we could get a legal slaughterhouse. Maybe more people would shop in smaller stores, allowing the prices to come down. The long view of this initiative seems very intelligent to me!

Here's what they say:
To get to 10% we are going to need major changes to our food system including buy-in from institutional players and major inroads to our current supply system. Change has to happen from where we currently are...while we're waiting for our leaders to catch on, let's look at things that we can do immediately and as individuals to ignite this change!

1 comment:

~~louise~~ said...

I totally agree Mae. I do believe we will be seeing more of these kinds of actions this year especially. I'm not in the habit of keeping track of my purchases either but, I have decided to head a few houses down to check out the fresh produce at my neighbor's Amish stand before heading to the grocer. I considered joining a CSA but I really don't need to considering I can stimulate the local economy and increase local purchases within walking distance. Yes, indeed, I'm really going to experience PA this year!!! Thanks for sharing...