Ray Christopher of Timberwood Organics sells at local farmerís markets, through an organic foods distributor, and directly to customers through a CSA.

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July 2006††††††††† †††

 

 

Dear Local Food Supporter,

 

Welcome to the Local Foods Gazette, the new on-line newsletter dedicated to promoting the growth of the local food system in the Triangle and surrounding counties.† It is becoming increasingly clear as fuel prices continue to rise, that in order to assure our food security, we must create more demand for locally produced foods that will demonstrate to local farmers that there is a market for local food products.

 

ďLocalĒ is the new organic.† The organic label served farmers well for a while, but many people have come to realize that organic is not enough.† More and more Triangle residents are questioning whether organically produced food from California or other far away places

is better for the environment than local, conventionally produced foods.† Not that organic is not important or canít be grown here.† Certainly, the ideal would be locally produced, organic foods.

 

There are a number of reasons locally produced food is a good idea besides food security and environmental reasons.† Fruits and vegetables are fresher, likely better tasting, and have greater nutritional value.† They support local farmers whose average household income from farming, according to the latest USDA statistics, is only $7,373.† By making local farmers more profitable, they are more able to continue farming their land, and therefore less likely to sell it for development.† Making farming more profitable would also make it more attractive to aspiring young farmers, which would help remedy the age problem that US agriculture faces (the average age of farmers is now more than 55 years).† A more profitable agricultural system also means that the surrounding rural areas are economically reinvigorated, which would result in the need for less government assistance.† Demand for organic foods will help develop alternative means of soil fertility before rising fossil fuel costs prohibits their use.† Buying locally produced foods keeps money in the local economy and preserves our local wealth and in turn creates the need for and investment in local food businesses that would process, package, add value to, and distribute these foods.† These businesses would further increase local economic activity and create even more local wealth.† You, as a local food buyer, have the power to make all these hopes and dreams become reality.† Redirecting the flow of the $4 billion dollars spent annually on food in Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties to local farmers and related local businesses would produce unimaginable benefits for us all!

 

The Local Foods Gazette will attempt to alert you, the local food buyer, to local farms trying to find their niche in the local food system.† It will also keep you informed about foods that are currently in season and where you can buy them or pick your own.† It will also occasionally highlight local businesses that support this vision of a local food system with their own business practices.† I hope you will enjoy reading the stories and learning about seasonal produce and other food products, such as local meats, when they are available.

 

If the Local Foods Gazette is not for you, let me know and Iíll remove your name from our e-mail list.† If you like it, tell your friends and family who live in the area and have them subscribe.† The more local food buyers involved in this effort, the more demand will increase and the faster the local food system will develop.† If you have questions or comments, please call (245-2063) or e-mail (mlanier@co.orange.nc.us) me, Iíd be glad to hear from you.

 

 

Sustainably,

 

Mike Lanier

Agricultural Economic Development

NC Cooperative Extension