Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back in Maine

(The Children's Garden at Zenger Farms, Portland, OR.)

We have returned from the Farm to Cafeteria conference in Portland, Oregon. We had a tremendous time. The conference was set up in such a way that there were various workshops and field trips for people with farming, distribution, food services and policy making backgrounds.

(A poster with a list of all of the farms that participated in providing food for the conference and where they are located.)

Naturally I spent most of my time on the farming track. The opening day we traveled as a group to three local organic farming projects, two of which were on land right in the middle of the city. It was fascinating to see the agricultural/urban interface, and it how it could be used to inspire people to become close their food again.

(A small family plot being cultivated on public land in Portland, Or.)

In the workshops we talked about the importance of distribution and the important role that distributors and processors can make in the success of small and middle sized family farms. Lectures were presented on the importance of setting policy and providing accurate and real statistics when trying to get locally grown foods into local school programs. Further we heard from people with experience about how using organic farms, started by students and sponsored and supported by local educational institutions can really make difference in teaching people about the importance of locally grown agriculture.
(What is Sustainability?)

This is the fourth year that this conference has been held, and I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested in learning about local agriculture, or who cares about getting healthy, locally grown foods back into the educational system to attend in the future.

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