Slaughterhouses are now part of the local food debate (Local Blurbs)

Demand for local meat leads to the need for more slaughterhouses; which then leads to the question recently posed in the New York Times:

What role, if any, should the federal government play in creating better food processing and delivery systems?

The responders cover many aspects of the debate (one panelist was featured here). Some local governments have started local food legislation.  Is the federal government next?

Happy Earth Day!

Hello Readers! Happy Earth Day to all.  Here are some ways to celebrate!

Things to do from South Jersey Locavore.

Be the ‘E’ says NYC or drink organic beer?

Earth Day lectures in Colorado.

Maryland!

Interview with MMlocal’s Ben Mustin

MM Local is a start up based in Boulder, Colorado that partners with local growers to pick produce at the height of ripeness, and preserve seasonal and delicious local flavors using the most natural and traditional methods of putting food by. MM Local products are simply-preserved and traceable back to the farmer for great local food all year round.

TL: How did you get started in the jarring/canning of local food business? (In other words what was your career path)

BM: Well, I took the circuitous route – that much is certain. I guess I had two main things going for me: I really love to eat great food (and, hence, cook it, buy it and grow it) and I ended up with a career path in branding and marketing. The food aspect has meant I’ve always been on the hunt for good eats and that inevitably took me locally as the informed food business has moved in that direction (I won’t even pretend I was ahead of the trend on that one). The business (and hence canning/jarring) aspect came from my observation that there has to be a better way to make more local food available to more people. I’m not smart enough to farm, so I took up canning – going back to the roots a bit to make more local produce available year round.

What is your overall vision for what is next for MM local?

Our goal is to make local produce available to more people, year round so that eating local is a more viable option for American families. We think that focusing on making local food more accessible will inspire stronger community connections, create economic growth for local community businesses and ultimately lead us in the direction of a healthier and more sustainable food system.

TL: Can you describe your food tracking numeric system and what inspired it?

BM: The numeric food tracking system is all about connection to farmers and accountability in the food system. I think one of the most inspiring things about eating locally is the bond you form with the farmers who grow food in your community. Knowing the people behind the food you eat makes the act of buying and consuming food a community-building action. It also inspires trust in what you’re eating. At a macro level, those are two of more important reasons for eating locally. We need to reinvest in the idea of strong local communities in order to improve our country. And we need to reintroduce accountability to the food system – I believe it’s the only way we can confront the systemic environmental, health and quality problems that our food system is facing.

TL: You mentioned environmental problems. What environmental or sustainability issues come up in the manufacturing of MM local products?

BM: We make a lot of choices when we make our products from the produce we source to the facilities we use. Sourcing organic – and working closely with farmers to know their practices first hand is probably the most important decision we make. As we improve our process, we can look for ways to save water and reduce our electricity use in the actual processing of jars – a current source of impact. And, from a transportation standpoint, we reduce transport miles as much as we can. While we do run into the “small producer” mileage challenge that some economists and pundits use to criticize local food, we try to make up for them through choice-ful decision making. That said, as we grow, there is an undoubtedly a lot more accountability and results-driven analysis we can do. Hopefully in the next few years we can institutionalize more accurate systems to measure our impact.

Continue reading…

Taste of Linkals

Later this week an interview with Ben Mustin of MMlocal!  Until then how about some links!

Intro guide to finding local food (Suite101)

Older story about urban farms in Detroit (Crains Detroit)

McDonald’s is not interested in cage free chickens (Slashfood)

Trial and error of an urban farmer/blogger (Phoenix New Times)

Crop mob. You may recognize this blogger from here (Leda’s Urban Homestead)

Are community and entrepreneurial efforts in conflict? (Local Blurb)

Real Estate developer John Hantz wants to turn vacant lots in Detroit into for profit urban farms. This has sparked heavy debate among those who want urban farms to remain nonprofits vs large scale ventures. A common nonprofit model: take unused lots, lease land to those who want to farm at a subsided rate, farmers sell some produce at a farmers market.  Hantz has proposed a purchase of unused residential land for a year round urban farm.  Hantz’s business plan has resulted in racial and community tension.

Taste of Linkals

More links!

Please also have a look at the multimedia page – http://tasteoflocal.com/multimedia/ – there will be updates in the coming weeks!

Virtual butcher shop (Home Grown Ontario via Sustain Ontario).

Urban farming, farming the city (City Farmer News).

Volunteers making things happen in Tampa (TBO).

Connecticut and CSAs (Hartford Courant).

LA does not have available open space  people are taking steps  to change that (LANIT via LAIST)

Taste of Linkals

Michigan is getting in on CSAs (The Grand Rapids Press).

A little late, but still interesting – Missouri House of Representatives pass bill to start task force on urban agriculture (City Farmer News).

A university in Florida is offering classes on urban farming (News-Press).

Is urban agriculture in the works for Buffalo’s city renewal? (EnergyBulletin).

If you live in Baltimore and want to farm go here (Baltimore Urban Agriculture).

New local cook book Lucid Food:Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life (Markets of New York)