Accessibility of Local Food in our Schools and other Institutions

I would like to thank Tes Thraves again for speaking with us today about CEFS and FoodCorps.  Tes provided some interesting information about what the organizations do, what they offer and how we might get involved.
I would also like to extend a thank you to the following attendees who joined in on a very stimulating conversation about the issue of food in our schools: Donna Poe, Jenny Schnaak, Kristy Church, Chris Bouton, Rudy Mullis, Brystana Kaufman and Carly Erickson.  It was an extremely interesting and informative discussion, and I appreciate the interest and passion so many of you have surrounding this issue.  This is one of my favorite things about our Wellness of Chatham meetings, we all can learn so much from one another’s experiences and expertise.
So, let’s get into the highlights . . . there were many!
I will start with something that Tes said that really stuck out for me.  “Local Food= Social Consciousness”  She said this before mentioning that where we need
local food the most is in our institutions – schools, hospitals, elderly care, etc.  What we do with our food says a lot about where we place value as a society.
 
CEFS (Center for Environmental Farming Systems) “develops and promotes food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities, and provide economic opportunities in NC and beyond.”  for more info http://www.cefs.ncsu.edu/
 
FoodCorps was established to identify and place motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for the purpose of working with local partner organizations to implement a three-ingredient recipe to positively impact the health of children and their families.
The 3 areas of focus are: to deliver hands-on nutrition education, to build and tend school gardens and to bring high-quality local food into public school cafeterias.
NC is one of 10 states in the US that has launched FoodCorp.  http://foodcorps.org/where-we-work/north-carolina
 
Since the importance is the VISIBILITY of programs, there are some things we can do to help out with supporting these efforts:
 
#1 Get involved with the 10% Campaign.  This allows our voting dollars when spent on local food producers, businesses and communities to count. 
  • Pledge to spend 10 percent of your existing food dollars locally
  • Email in the answers to a few simple questions each week
  • The program will track your progress, and you’ll see their progress statewide
For more info and to join, go to www.nc10percent.com
 
#2 Join up with local projects like The Abundance Foundation Chef’s Challenge.  Right now, they need individual school buy-in and volunteers to facilitate at the
     various school locations. http://theabundancefoundation.org/events/chatham-county-chef-challenge
 
#3 Get educated and educate others.  Join local groups like Wellness of Chatham.  Show up, learn, connect and do what you can to introduce others to the information, activities, projects and programs that are going on around town related to improving the availability of our local food and supporting our local businesses & the general health and wellness of our community. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Wellness-of-Chatham/257047840985230
 
Additional info:
A couple of local bakeries that are utilizing locally grown and milled grains for their breads and baked goods are:
Box Turtle Bakery www.boxturtlebakery.com
Chicken Bridge Bakery http://chickenbridgebakery.weebly.com
 
Some of the programs that are going on locally that feed into what communities are trying to do to get more good food where it needs to be:
“PLANT” at Breeze Farm http://orange.ces.ncsu.edu/files/library/68/PLANT-Breeze%20Farm%20Information.pdf
Fickle Creek Farm

 

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