Farmers, restaurant owners and food producers reflect on 2012 and share the changes and challenges last year brought for sustainable food.
The weather this summer was a huge challenge—drought and too many days above 100°F meant we lost some crops but for the most part the year was good to us. We expanded our CSA, started selling to a local food co-op and right now we are in the process of starting a new food hub that will sell to school systems, restaurants and other institutions in the Greater Dayton, OH region.
Lucy Owsley-Goodman, Boulder Belt Eco-Farm
You can rent decent land, you can buy an animal, you can raise it. But as soon as you want to get it killed, you’ve got to find somebody to kill it. Then you’ve got to get it cut up under USDA inspection to be able to sell it, and that is hard. We had to use other processors when we got started. Then I opened the Point Reyes shop so we could do more retail stuff because, as long as you have USDA approved slaughter, you don’t need to have USDA approved cutting to go to retail.
David Evans, Marin Sun Farms
Restaurants and producers
This year was particularly challenging for local food sourcing due to the drought we experienced. We are fortunate to work with many growers that have some form or irrigation, but there are a few we work with that do not.
Clayton Chapman, The Grey Plume
At Uncommon Ground, we are very keen to vote with our dollars and spend as much money in our local communities as we can. When that isn’t possible, we vote to support farmers and organizations that do business in a way that supports our mission: good, clean, fair food and sustainable products.
The terrain is constantly changing, both within the restaurants and in our outer world, and our challenge is to always keep improving. We have committed to a seasonal menu that changes frequently in response to what is available and at its highest quality, and this really helps us stay on target. The good news is that sourcing great local food at the quantity that we need is no longer as difficult as it once was—even in the winter months!
Helen Cameron, Uncommon Ground
Distribution is always a challenge. And having consumers understand why it costs more.
Steven Grasse, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction