Saturday, July 28, 2012

Recap: A Bigger Future for Local Food

Think Local First's Eat Local First Week may have come to a close on Saturday the 21st with their 2nd Annual Farm-To-Street Party, but the underlying movement behind this campaign continues.

At the center of this movement is local farming, and on Wednesday, July 18th, restauranteurs, grocers, farmers, urban farmers, CSAs, artisan food and beverage producers, food writers, and entrepreneurs gathered at the Phillips Collection to engage in discussion with a panel also made up of local restauranteurs, grocers, farmers, CSAs, and artisan food and beverage producers, where the discussion largely centered around how to connect farmers with available land. 

Incubation programs, such as that provided by the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, where small plots (.5 to 2 acres) are made available to start-up farmers in the area, with the Arcadia team working with such farmers to identify and secure (either by purchase or lease) larger acreage once they are ready to graduate from the incubator, are a welcome first step in making sure farmers can more easily be connected to available farmland. 

Regulations were also a hot topic of conversations, where the importance of providing farmers easy access to rules, regulations, and the appropriate paperwork necessary to meet any of these rules or regulations, was discussed.

After connecting the farmers with available land, you have to make sure people will actually buy the product the farmers are growing, and price concerns took over the discussion for several minutes, though it was generally thought that customers have thus far been very willing to pay a little extra to know exactly where their food comes from.

After the 45 minute discussion, guests carried over the conversation to a reception featuring food and drinks provided by Tryst, Local 16 with Whipple Farms, GoĆ»ter, DC Brau, Barboursville Vineyards, and Copper Fox Distillery.

For info about Think Local First's efforts to grow a sustainable, local economy in Washington DC, visit

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