Monday, April 5, 2010

Food on the Table Conference Redux

about 10 days ago I got to go to the "Food on the Table" conference/workshop in Moscow. It was quite lovely. VERY good cake and you know I like a bit of cake.

Anyway, it was about local food, food security, and how to help people produce their own (not all of it, but some). Quite interesting things were pointed out.
Like almost every county in Idaho and Washington in the 1940s had at least one dairy and at least one food cannery or other commercial food processing plant that dealt with locally or regionally produced food. Now, there are just a handful of dairies and canneries or food-processing factories in these states.

There used to be over 100 different fruits and vegetables produced for the market in Idaho. Now, just a few. Sometime between 1940 and now it became unsexy to produce food for people in the area. This is true pretty much across the country. There are a few producers who market directly but no more vegetable canneries working with that local produce. There's a dairy in Spokane. That's about it. They estimated that in Latah County (Moscow's area where the conference was) there could be 140+ permanent jobs if people spent just 25% of their food money on locally produced goods and that demand was met locally. It's not huge, but it's a start.

We had a local baker bring the bread. It was awesome. He uses locally produced flour. We also heard from one of the flour producers. It's actually odd that we no longer know the people who make our food. People used to. When did it change?
When did the farm and lawn gardens become rare?
Fred and Sher still have theirs but they are throwbacks or freaks or something. Most people don't grow food. I get a bit, not much.

In other news...there are some land plots for sale that are pretty promising! It would be nice to find the right one. There are two on a good road. A bit more expensive than I hoped for but I'm going to look at them a few more times before I give up.

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