Transition Whatcom

1.16.11

Food Security Event Planning Meeting

Present:  Kate Clark, Teresa Fritsch, Linda Fels, Laura Sellens, Heather Katahdn, Tris Shirley

Agenda: open.  Discussion to decide if we should hold a Food Security Summit, and if so, when.

Discussion Points:

-Summit would allow all relevant organizations to get together, acknowledge what’s being done/areas of overlap, foster collaborations and brainstorming, identify gaps in Whatcom Co.  food system.  Questions for participants:  ”What are you doing?  What do you need?” 

-ex. An idea from Fred Berman that family scale cold storage and larger scale food preservation/storage methods would be useful.

-a big goal of this meeting would be to bring awareness of energy decline.  Recent Food Security summit did not acknowledge this.  Focus is still on food production/access/security/justice, but not on how those things will be affected by limited fossil fuels

-TW members not “qualified” to hold these discussions.  We’re not food professionals.  Perhaps a better place to start would be researching and meeting with groups individually

-complex topic!  Lots going on, perhaps more than one day to find out.  Pressure to make the first summit event useful or people wouldn’t return for a second, third, etc even though it’s probably unreasonable to expect solutions in one day.

-In Russia allotments are being provided, on government owned land.  Here we have a lot of private land.  Discussed Urban Garden Share website, which links potential gardeners with landowners with available plots.  This is an example of a project we could do or simply help promote, to close gaps in the food system. http://www.urbangardenshare.org/whatcom/gardens

-Farmers with national and international markets may not want to hear about/think about peak oil.  However most people are attuned to gasoline prices.  Present info from economic perspective.

-For EDAP, we could start with mapping and land use.  Some figures were presented @ Lynden Faire

-the Natural Step program is simple and helps businesses to be more sustainable.  Successful model.

Goals of Food Security Group:

                1.  Awareness raising on energy decline and its impact on our food systems

                2.  Planning, especially EDAP (energy descent action plan)

                3.  Projects that increase local food resilience

                -Identifying gaps in present food system progresses goals #2&3

-Rather than jump in with a Food Security Summit, we could start with research and awareness raisings with relevant organizations.  We could use these smaller meetings to see what would make the summit useful to them and get “buy-in.”  Depending on feedback received, perhaps a reasonable time would be January 2012.

Next Steps:

-Kate will revamp awareness raising presentations.  Tris and Laura will help deliver presentations.

-Linda will find out if discussion posts on the ning site can be ordered most recent first.  Based on this Laura will start a blog or a discussion, and post the notes.

-Heather will bring attention to urban garden share website within the Seed Swap organizers. 

-Linda will find out what research has already been done in Whatcom Co and will contribute to Food Chapter of EDAP

-Laura will find out more about the BALLE Food Leakage Calculator that is available

No next meeting.  To communicate online until we have need of a meeting or start awareness raising meetings.

Views: 19

Replies to This Discussion

Hi All, Here's what I found out about the BALLE food leakage calculator.  I think it sounds useful.

The Food Leakage Calculator presents key data about farms and agricultural production for a
given community. These data can be found in the USDA’s Ag Census,3 but the calculator makes
it very easy for users to find key data. It also compares production data with consumption data
from the Consumer Expenditure Survey4 to provide a community with a very concrete sense of
the extent to which it is not food self‐reliant or food secure. Nearly every community in the
United States imports nearly all its fresh food, and the Food Calculator suggests how many
pounds of fruits, vegetables, and grains, and how many chickens, cows, and pigs would be
needed for the community to feed itself.
For example, El Paso County, Colorado, has a big, $150 million per year beef industry. And yet
the county is still only 28% self‐reliant on the steers it grows. There is the potential to create in
this county a dairy industry with 26,000 milk cows, a pork industry with 279,000 pigs, and a
poultry industry with 17 million chickens grown per year. There is also the potential to grow
nearly all the fruits and vegetables consumed locally. Thus, a county that perceives itself as
strong in agriculture actually turns out to have huge opportunities for economic growth
through food self‐reliance.
These data provide an important supplement to the Overview Calculator, because NAICS data
do not include farming. Alongside information about sector‐specific leakages in agricultural
support, food manufacturing, food retailing, restaurants, and food service, food leakages let
the public know about specific weaknesses in the community’s existing food system—and
specific opportunities for remedying those weaknesses.
We are planning to expand the Food Calculator to analyze business, institutional, and
government purchases of all kinds of food products and services. Additionally, we plan to add
measures of other key indicators of the health of a community food system, including numbers
of CSAs, farmers markets, and food deserts.

Sorry I've been silent since the meeting - been dealing with bad eyestrain so had to curtail computer work.

 

Laura, at the meeting you mentioned the TWOG putting together a Google Docs location.  Has that been done and can we have a subdirectory for the Food EDAP chapter?  And who on the TWOG is coordinating the EDAP?

 

As for the Food EDAP piece, I'm reading through the ERS/PO Task Force report and Kinsale EDAP.  These look like a good starting document and good example of our goal document, respectively.  Contacted Gigi about other resources.  Soon I'll start a separate discussion to recruit members for a team to work on the EDAP Food chapter.

Hi Linda,  Travis is the TWOG who's going to be coordinating the EDAP, and he's also the guy who can tell you about google docs.   Thanks for starting the research!  The Totnes EDAP has a really detailed food chapter, with great maps of their food system and land use/quality.  I could see TW working with WWU students on something like that. http://totnesedap.org.uk/  Cheers--

Hi all,

I am hoping we can begin to work together on the food summit idea. Please see my recent discussion post, and feel free to contact me if you want to join our planning group.

Thanks.

Laura

Walter,

Please let us at SC Food & Farming know of your farmers market plans (location, times) so we can make sure it gets listed in the annual printing of the Food & Farm Finder and map!

Thanks!

Laura

 

Walter Haugen said:

The Food Calculator is a great idea - IF it gets people to dig into their wallets and actually buy food directly from local farmers. Until that time, it will simply be an interesting artifact.

For those of you reluctant to deal directly with a farmer by driving out to the farm, there are several alternatives.
1) Farmers Markets - Bellingham, Fairhaven, North Bellingham (started last year and tentative for this year), Ferndale, Lynden (new market starting in June).
2) Food buying clubs - easy to start, easy to run as long as you have 1 committed person and 2-3 others willing to pitch in on a weekly basis.
3) Grow more food yourselves for your own family.

Hi Folks,


We've already done some of these assessments, and work with others who also are tracking similar things for the local food system. Good news - you don't have to do all this research from scratch!

Laura

 

Laura J Sellens said:

Hi All, Here's what I found out about the BALLE food leakage calculator.  I think it sounds useful.

The Food Leakage Calculator presents key data about farms and agricultural production for a
given community. These data can be found in the USDA’s Ag Census,3 but the calculator makes
it very easy for users to find key data. It also compares production data with consumption data
from the Consumer Expenditure Survey4 to provide a community with a very concrete sense of
the extent to which it is not food self‐reliant or food secure. Nearly every community in the
United States imports nearly all its fresh food, and the Food Calculator suggests how many
pounds of fruits, vegetables, and grains, and how many chickens, cows, and pigs would be
needed for the community to feed itself.
For example, El Paso County, Colorado, has a big, $150 million per year beef industry. And yet
the county is still only 28% self‐reliant on the steers it grows. There is the potential to create in
this county a dairy industry with 26,000 milk cows, a pork industry with 279,000 pigs, and a
poultry industry with 17 million chickens grown per year. There is also the potential to grow
nearly all the fruits and vegetables consumed locally. Thus, a county that perceives itself as
strong in agriculture actually turns out to have huge opportunities for economic growth
through food self‐reliance.
These data provide an important supplement to the Overview Calculator, because NAICS data
do not include farming. Alongside information about sector‐specific leakages in agricultural
support, food manufacturing, food retailing, restaurants, and food service, food leakages let
the public know about specific weaknesses in the community’s existing food system—and
specific opportunities for remedying those weaknesses.
We are planning to expand the Food Calculator to analyze business, institutional, and
government purchases of all kinds of food products and services. Additionally, we plan to add
measures of other key indicators of the health of a community food system, including numbers
of CSAs, farmers markets, and food deserts.

thanks. we can put the location and the contact info.

Walter Haugen said:
Lynden Farmers Market 2011 - Starts June 4th and runs through October 15th. Hours will be 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Local vendors only - this means Whatcom County for this market. Market will be on the grounds of the 3rd Christian Reformed Church in downtown Lynden - 6th and Edson. This will be a tailgate market and popups are not necessary. If you have a popup it can be any color. No stall fees. Resellers okay if you have a link to the farm. Vendors required to pick up after themselves AND the general public at the end of the day. Decisions on craft vendors, food vendors, and any licenses required by the city are still in flux. Additional info from Dave Timmer 961-4061or Walter Haugen 312-0335. 

Laura R. said:

Walter,

Please let us at SC Food & Farming know of your farmers market plans (location, times) so we can make sure it gets listed in the annual printing of the Food & Farm Finder and map!

Thanks!

Laura

 

Walter Haugen said:

The Food Calculator is a great idea - IF it gets people to dig into their wallets and actually buy food directly from local farmers. Until that time, it will simply be an interesting artifact.

For those of you reluctant to deal directly with a farmer by driving out to the farm, there are several alternatives.
1) Farmers Markets - Bellingham, Fairhaven, North Bellingham (started last year and tentative for this year), Ferndale, Lynden (new market starting in June).
2) Food buying clubs - easy to start, easy to run as long as you have 1 committed person and 2-3 others willing to pitch in on a weekly basis.
3) Grow more food yourselves for your own family.

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