PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Posts Tagged ‘Port Townsend Community’

Developing Our Local Food System

January 15th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

Picture of Dharma Ridge Farm – http://dharmaridgefarm.com

by Laura Llewellyn, Produce Manager

A lot of the work I do is focused on developing our local food system, which comes in a complex array of shapes and sizes. It’s not just about the farmers or our local producers of value-added products. It’s also about the schools, the restaurants, the farmer’s markets, all the grocery stores and various institutions. It’s about the gleaners and the food bank, the policy workers and the leaders of our community, the home gardeners and CSA members. It’s about each and every one of you. Naturally, eating is the one thing we all share in common.

Currently, I am The Food Co-op’s representative on the Jefferson County Local Food System Council (JCLFSC). Our mission: Working together to create, expand, and strengthen a local food system that is accessible, healthy, sustainable, and economically vibrant.
The JCLFSC was founded in 2015 and is comprised of about 20 volunteers who meet once a month. Each member represents a different sector of our food system. Much of the last three years has been spent on dialoging, networking and mapping. The result of this work is just starting to ripple out into the community.

The Food Council has two main committees in addition to the Executive Committee. The Policy Committee has spent considerable time drafting input to the Comprehensive Plan for both Port Townsend and Jefferson County. The Education and Outreach Committee is currently working with the Eat Local Campaign on two main fronts (more on this campaign to come). First is a farmer meetup on January 5 to plan how to increase local food use by restaurants.

The goal of this meeting is to strengthen relationships and thus purchasing power between farmers and chefs county-wide. Second is an initiative to start a number of Menu for the Future discussion courses. In the winter, groups will be meeting for six weeks all over the county to discuss food-related topics. Anyone can participate in this grassroots educational opportunity. For more information on the JCLFSC or if interested in signing up for a Menu for the Future group, email Judy Alexander at jclocalfoodsystemcouncil@gmail.com.

Through the workings of The Food Co-op and the Food Council, an Eat Local First campaign has been born. More accurately, the campaign is still in its inception stage. After three meetings, a group has surfaced that shares the common goal of turning up the dial on local food consumption. We are taking inspiration from the work Sustainable Connections is doing in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. The steering committee is working to identify our vision and mission, create structure for the campaign and find funding. If you are interested in learning more as the details unfold, joining our efforts or contributing any resources to the campaign, you can email me at laura@foodcoop.coop.

I have found that many of the conversations I have personally and professionally about eating local comes back to the topic of education. It might be information about certain products or vendors, actually getting people to taste the food, info about general nutrition, the economics of local businesses, or simply a story that paints a picture in one’s mind. Bottom line, our food system is comprised of the choices we make three or more times per day. These decisions are made for many reasons, ranging from budget, to diet, to access, or to what we simply crave. All I ask is, next time you have a choice to make, think about eating local. Every dollar spent in our community multiplies within our community. Since we are what we eat, it serves every one of us to learn more about where our food comes from.

What we did in 2017:

❀ Held a thank you dinner/workshop with local farmers

❀ Bought from 122 different local farmers and makers

❀ Purchased over $1.2 million in goods from local producers

❀Added the amount of local dollars you spent at the Co-op to your register receipt

❀ Gave microloans totaling $10,000 to 2 local farms.

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