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 Wilmar Area Local Foods Study

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Kathy D
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Number of posts : 18
Registration date : 2009-01-23

PostSubject: Wilmar Area Local Foods Study   Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:42 am

Needs, gaps in creating a local food system
are study points
By Anne Polta, West Central Tribune
Published Monday, January 26, 2009
WILLMAR — Building a base of local food growers ought to be one of the first steps toward
creating a viable local food system in Kandiyohi County, a newly released study has found.
The interest is there, said Donna Chollett, the study’s author.
“People are ready to jump on that bandwagon, I think. I think that you’ve got the capabilities to
really build something good,” Chollett said.
The study was presented Thursday to the Kandiyohi County Local Food System Steering
Committee, a volunteer group that’s working on increasing access to fresh, locally grown
healthful food.
Committee members sought the assessment to help them set priorities and decide on a future
direction.
Chollett, of the Center for Small Towns at the University of Minnesota in Morris, collected data
and conducted surveys and interviews with a wide range of sources.
They included farmers market participants to social service agencies and schools.
One of her key findings: Although there’s a growing demand for locally grown food, there are
few local, sustainable farms in Kandiyohi County and only one farm that’s certified as an organic
producer.
“Why aren’t they here? Why do we have this gap?” Chollett asked.
Her study uncovered other gaps as well.
Even if the number of local producers were to increase, an efficient distribution system for
getting locally grown food to where it’s needed — to the cafeterias of local schools, for instance
— is missing.
Reliance on fast food and processed food has left many people without the skills or know-how to
prepare fresh food, the study found.
One of the findings that intrigued Chollett the most was the number of shoppers at the Willmar
farmers market who don’t have young children.
“Why? I think it’s a real important question to answer,” she said.
There’s also a lack of awareness among many people about the hidden costs of nonlocal food,
Chollett said, citing studies that put the share of transportation, processing and distribution at up
to 80 percent of food costs.
“I think what we need is some way to educate the public,” she said.
Chollett’s study makes several recommendations:
* Increase community engagement by inviting diverse groups to become involved in developing
a local food system.
* Identify and tackle projects with a specific focus — for instance, establishing a farmers
marketing association to help connect growers and buyers, or launching a training program for
farmers or a greenhouse for producing fresh food year round.
* Look at ways of providing fresh local food to organizations such as food shelves, to help
ensure that healthful food is available to children, the elderly and the low-income.
* Promote opportunities for Kandiyohi County’s ethnic population to produce and distribute
food.
* Support farmers in becoming producers of local food. The average age of a Kandiyohi County
farmer is 59, Chollett noted.
“What’s going to happen to those farms as those farmers retire? How do we preserve that land?”

she said.?
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http://blog.lib.umn.edu/draeg001/regionalpartnerships/
joelie hicks
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Number of posts : 262
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PostSubject: Re: Wilmar Area Local Foods Study   Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:19 am

I went to an LSP meeting in Ortonville a while back, one woman who provides grass fed beef said she sends out a newsletter, most of the time she is lucky to sell a half dozen soup bones. She included instructions in the newsletter about what to do with a soupbone and her sales of soupbones increased sixfold.
One of my daughters has small children and a job, but she manages to make healthy meals for her family, all most people need is a little guidance. She is a big fan of the farmers mkts in her area.
When my kids went to apartments in college it did not take them long to figure out that a roast or whole chicken would give them many meals during the week, much cheaper than fast food or convenience meals at the grocery. My son, who is a vegetarian does not use a chicken or roast of course, but lentils and eggs provide a base for some great meals.
A gift membership to their local food co-op is a wonderful gift for a college student.
And yes; local school cafeterias need to do this too. The amount of type II diabetes in youngsters is rising fast.
Let's find our own gaps and brainstorm how to fill them.
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Lost art of cooking   Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:51 am

I was amused by my grandson visiting one day. He came into the kitchen and was amazed as I made some gravy. He had only seen gravy in jars or packages. It fascinated him as I put the four in the pan and added milk.

There are so many who don't realize that food is simple enough to prepare. It doesn't take that much time to whip up a pancake batter but now I see that they carry premixed pancake batter and all you add water (I didn't read the directions it may have also called for an egg).

If people see it done then they want to do it. Perhaps some cooking demonstrations can be utilized. Just like the woman who sold more soup bones when people knew how to use them people will buy more local produce when they know how to prepare it. Chef

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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