December 5, 2012
It is with great gratitude that I write this letter in preparation of the holidays with family and friends. I’m so thankful that we have a thriving group of local farmers and food producers who make delicious and healthy food available to us every day.
The importance of having this local food network became crystal clear to me a few weeks ago when we were battered by Hurricane Sandy. Like millions of others, we lost power for days and experienced a total disruption of what we consider “normal.” We had a hard time finding gas and we saw many grocery-store shelves go bare because of kinks in the global food supply chains.
It was good to know that much of the food that my family relies on comes not from supermarkets where food travels an average of 1,500 miles from source to dinner plate but from farms and food producers within a 25-mile radius of our home. As a result of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, “Eating Local” went from being a modest socio-political flexing of our own personal power in determining our own destiny to being a bona fide survival strategy.
While our local farms and food producers had some disruptions and difficulties with their operations due to the storm and its aftermath, we benefited from the fact that our food is right here in our community—a point that is critical as we face the “New Normal” with its disruptions to the many things we take for granted, like the flow of electricity, gasoline and food from the global economy.
One of the chief goals of the Foodshed Alliance is to work to build a resilient local food economy here in northwest New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Now more than ever, this is an immediate and critical priority. “Eat Local!” is now a battle cry for preparing for the “New Normal.”
We invite you to help us in our work. Please make a donation today so we can meet the growing challenges of building a resilient local food economy through innovative programs.
The goals of the Foodshed Alliance are to foster Healthy Land, Healthy Food and Healthy Communities. To do this, we:
- Promote a robust farm economy in northwest New Jersey through local efforts and regional collaborations.
- Develop programs that contribute to the sustainability of local farms.
- Raise people’s awareness about the value of locally grown food and farming.
- Demonstrate how farming and food is an integral part of our health, our economy, our communities, and the environment.
- Encourage and support farming practices that respect and replenish the land and its natural ecosystems while producing healthy food.
- Contribute to the development of a regional network of farmers, consumers, and agricultural professionals devoted to building a local food system. Serve as a clearinghouse for the information, resources, and services provided by this community.
- Advance agriculture as a way of preserving our rural landscapes and hindering their destruction by the spread of sprawl.
Besides our educational efforts on the importance of local food, we began a new initiative in 2012 called LocalShare, a program based on the idea that local organic, naturally grown food should be accessible to all people in our community, regardless of means. Through this program, we host LocalShare Community Dinners, where area chefs donate their time to create amazing gourmet meals using locally sourced food. Uniquely, the cost to attend is “Pay What You Can.” We simply say, “Give more if you can, less if you can’t. No one is turned away for lack of funds.”
This approach makes it comfortable for community members from all economic backgrounds to break bread together. For many, it is the first introduction to what organic food is, while for others it is a way to give back to the community. For everyone, LocalShare Community Dinners offer a wonderful meal and a joyous time out and we plan four LocalShare Community Dinners in 2013. In addition, the Foodshed Alliance LocalShare program is in the process of organizing volunteers who will routinely take surplus or unsellable food from farms to food pantries, who can get it to the people who need it.
Won’t you help by sending a check or making an online contribution–whatever you can afford–to help the Foodshed Alliance encourage more and more people to make local food a priority in their lives?
Please support our vision—the vision that has connected consumers and farmers in northwest New Jersey for a decade—by making a donation today. Your gift will directly fuel local food resilience! All contributions are tax-deductible. Thank you for your support!
Director, Foodshed Alliance
P.S. The Foodshed Alliance relies on contributions from people like you, who value local farms and food, to fuel the work that needs to be done. Won’t you support local food by sending a donation today?
• Checks can be mailed to the Foodshed Alliance at P.O. Box 713, Blairstown, NJ 07825
• You can make a credit card donation by calling 908-362-7967.
• You can make a donation online.