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Archive for Sunday, March 16, 2008

Community network probes ways to yield sustainable food

From left, Sherry Boswell, Lawrence, Sandy Tippett, Lawrence, and Tippett's mother, Lois Tippett, Buffalo, N.Y., visit at a Lawrence Sustainability Network event Saturday at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries building, 1204 Oread Ave. Sandy is a member of the network, which had a potluck dinner and panel discussion on eating local food.

From left, Sherry Boswell, Lawrence, Sandy Tippett, Lawrence, and Tippett's mother, Lois Tippett, Buffalo, N.Y., visit at a Lawrence Sustainability Network event Saturday at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries building, 1204 Oread Ave. Sandy is a member of the network, which had a potluck dinner and panel discussion on eating local food.

March 16, 2008

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If you are what you eat, then Hilary Brown, owner of Local Burger, knows firsthand that healthy, organic foods can make you "feel good."

Brown suffered from food allergies for a period of her life, and when she changed her diet, she "got to be Hilary," she said.

Brown was a featured panelist in a Lawrence Sustainability Network-hosted panel discussion about the benefits and challenges of sustaining a community with local food.

"It's about feeling good and having a healthy world," Brown said.

Each panelist, Bob Lominska from Rolling Prairie Farmer's Alliance; Brown from Local Burger; Rita York, Community Mercantile assistant manager; Mercedes Taylor-Puckett, Lawrence Farmers Market manager; Julie Vernon with Lawrence Sustainability Network's community gardens; and Debbie Yarnell, a farmer of Homespun Hill Farm, discussed how they are making choices to positively influence Lawrence.

Timely challenges such as rising fuel costs have made it a mission for local groups such as Lawrence Sustainability Network to create awareness about where food is bought and how much fuel is required to transport it. Panel discussions such as the one Saturday night at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries building, 1204 Oread Ave., were created to come up with solutions.

One way the Community Mercantile is helping is to track the mileage it takes local producers to deliver products to the store.

York discussed various ways the store, which buys and sells local, organic foods, has concentrated on being proactive in the community in the past year. One included an educational tool called "Miles to the Merc," which used signage to inform consumers about where their food came from.

"There's lots of signs in the store, and there are more to come," York said.

Taylor-Puckett discussed the challenges of providing convenience and cheaper prices with locally produced food at the Farmers Market.

A larger theme that tied all of the panelists together was what they called prime farm land in North Lawrence. Plans to build a business park in the area have raised concerns in the local food industry. Discussions between the city and developers of the Airport Business Park have been put on hold.

"Knowing that in North Lawrence we have some of the world's best soil, it seems ludicrous to me to pave it," Brown said.

Sandy Sanders, a retired elementary teacher who comes from a family of farmers, said the panel discussion was a much-needed forum to bring to light several topics such as losing land to industrial parks and being locally sustained communities.

"This is a huge cause for hope that this many people have dedicated their life's work to this, to making ethical and sustainable choices," Sanders said.

Comments

Darin Wade 4 years, 6 months ago

Expensive for less the quality and nutrional value sold at a higher price...I rather shop at Walmart.

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Darin Wade 4 years, 6 months ago

I oppose sustainble foods if its in the wrong hands.Sustainable Foods Groups miss the meaning of the label and cross in ..Expensive... low quality food for more of a price for example "Bumper" Crops have low quality which means very little nutrional Value which sells less and makes more profit.

       I do not support sustainble foods and local farming in Lawrence Kansas due to the powers at be that are in control of marketing and pricing.
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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"Its China folks , gobbling up the worlds resources at an alarming rate."

One thing is for sure-- they'll never be able to gobble it up at the same per capita rate that the US has been doing for several decades now. And a good deal of the resources they are "gobbling up" is being used to provide cheap consumer goods for the US.

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cowboy 6 years, 1 month ago

Its China folks , gobbling up the worlds resources at an alarming rate. Noticed frozen vegetables up about 25% this week , my cattle feed jumped 25% this week , fertilizers and minerals have nearly doubled this month. Get ready for a really rough ride. Our gov't has been asleep at the wheel for a long time now !

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logrithmic 6 years, 1 month ago

This is a movement across the United States.

I would expect to see this movement grow as gas prices continue to rise (most of the experts say gas prices will rise from here on out as we deplete what is left of the stockpile of fossil fuel at an increasing rate). In fact, all agriculture is heavily dependent on fertilizer and petroleum inputs.

Not only that, but the U.S. government seems bound and determined to impoverish its citizens. Food increases are being generated by both petroleum costs and the use of corn for ethanol. Farmers are moving from wheat and corn production for food to corn production for ethanol production. And it is we, the overtaxed taxpayer, that is paying these farmers to increase our food prices by subsidizing their production of ethanol. You see, if we weren't subsidizing it, there would be no profit for the farmer. So we are being taxed to subsidize ethanol and we are paying more for food because of it. (Thank you rightwing RepubLICKlans).

In addition to this "local food" movement, people are going to begin growing their own food. We are moving from an environment of relative plenty to one of scarcity. And we are going to grow our food out of necessity. Unfortunately, we will only have food over the growing season. The winter months is where things will get interesting.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor....

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