|Get it While the Gettin's Good|
|Written by alice freda|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 16:06|
For all but the last sixty years, humanity has eaten "local" meats and produce, as food was either produced on individuals' land or because most farms were small operations that delivered their food to nearby markets and consumers. But with improvements in transportation and refrigeration and the ensuing rise of mega agribusiness, eating New Zealand kiwis, Brazilian beef, or Spanish clementines became commonplace. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of a ripe kiwi, sweet clementine, or juicy sirloin, but studies have shown that the industrial food complex is a major cause of obesity and carbon-dioxide emissions.
This is where "local food" comes in. Eat Local First week begins July 14th. This food campaign was originally created to celebrate local food in the Washington, DC area and focuses on local farms, local restaurants, and the organizations and people that are making locally-grown food more accessible in the DC community. Clean Currents staff member Eric Vermeiren had a chance to chat with Stacey Price, Executive Director of Local First DC, about the upcoming week and what the fuss about "local" is all about:
So what exactly is “Think Local First DC”?
Think Local First DC is a leading organization in the local movement in DC. We are a non-profit dedicated to the transformation of DC's sustainable economy through strengthening the voice of the local business community. We facilitate sustainable economic development through educational programs, business & community connections, and local advocacy. We are proud members of BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a nationwide network of over 20,000 entrepreneurs. Here in DC, we have over 300 members that keep our city unique and vibrant.
The term “local” has really entered the American vernacular in the past few years. Can you explain why it’s so important to shop/eat/support local?
The easiest reason to quantify is the amount of money that stays in the community. For every $100 spent in a local establishment, $68 continues to circulate in the community versus $13 when you spend that money at a non-local businesses. Local business owners are more likely to actively engage in the community, creating authentic and meaningful relationships with customers and other business owners.
Think Local First DC is focused on consumer education and emerging food entrepreneurs for our Eat Local First week this year. In addition to the Farm-to-Table restaurant specials, we are co-hosting two events that will fund or support emerging food concepts - Femivore, for women with a local food-based project and Start-up Kitchen, a new kitchen incubator concept operating out of Think Local First Member Domku's kitchen. Our Farm-to-Street Party will even have an entire section devoted to food and sustainability education. And all of our events and partners are dedicated to sourcing as much ingredients locally as possible - which means that the food will be fresher and more delicious this week in DC!
For many of us, we don’t see working farms very often. Are there really vibrant and sustainable farms in the Mid-Atlantic region?
YES! Visit any one of our amazing Farmer's Markets and you will see an incredible bounty and variety of locally grown and produced farm products from less than 100 miles away. One interesting Think Local First member is located within the District - Neighborhood Farm Initiative. NFI is donating produce for our Kick-off Party Sunday at Acre121 and is a great example of an innovative way to grow food locally. At our Farm-to-Street Party next Saturday, July 21st, you will have a chance to speak with the NFI as well as other area farmers firsthand about agriculture in this region.
*Anything else you’d like our 12,000+ readers to know about Think Local First DC/ Eat Local First week?
We have 11 amazing events planned that really connect our local community to local food. It kicks off with a party and ends with a party --- in between there is education, policy talk, competitions, walking urban garden tours, access to amazing local menus and much more. A full list can be found online at www.eatlocalfirstdc.com
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