Saturday, February 20, 2010

Livingston provides a model for local foods movement in Wyoming

Great idea I read about in the Billings Gazette:

The Western Sustainability Exchange of Livingston will provide information on the production, distribution and purchase of local foods during a workshop from 1-5 p.m. Monday at the Mansfield Health Education Center at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings.

The organization’s Local Foods Commerce Day is advertised as the state’s premier training and marketing event for simplifying the processes involved in supporting locally grown foods. The event will feature a panel of producers, distributors and chefs who are already successfully buying, selling and using local foods. The first half of the workshop is open to the public.

Registration is $25 for nonmembers and $10 for members. The “Speed Dating” session, which consists of fast-paced meetings between producers, buyers and distributors, is reserved for members who have passed sustainability criteria. For more information, call 406-222-0730.

I like the phrase "simplify the processes involved in supporting locally grown foods." It is a bit confusing trying to find out what's local and where you can get it. Two farmers' markets in Cheyenne. Many vendors are within-100-miles local, and some aren't. Still, I like the fruit that comes from Utah. As far as I know, no part of Utah is within 100 miles of Cheyenne. There's canteloupe from Rocky Ford and peaches from Fruita. I would rather buy those at the Depot Plaza Market than tasteless varieties at the grocery store. Fruit from California and Texas. But Utah and Colorado closer than Salinas, California.

The Livingston folks seem more interested in really local -- the food grown around their fair city. And connecting local producers and distributors and chefs. Last week on Facebook, someone suggested that all of us should ask our waiters and waitresses for dishes that are made from local foods. I have never done this in Cheyenne.

Me: I want to eat only locally grown food tonight.

Waitress: Blank look. Crickets chirping in background.

We have a burgeoning local foods movement. We're a bit handicapped by the fact that our growing season is short and the soil is not soo good. But more of us are growing at least some of our own food.

What we need now is a way to connect us all.


bigfrank said...

HB 54 needs all of the Wyoming people's support.
This is a bill that can help the earth and cut down on the pollution and waste by letting the small farmer open up the roadside stand, more farmers markets. Love that jelly that June makes down the road. You can go and buy it from her now. I can go and find more nutritionally better food than the crap at Wal-Mart and get more of the history on the food. I can now sell my surplus of kiwi now much easier. If anyone wants to question how clean it is or I am they are more than welcome to check me out themselves.
Ask and tell your waiter you want local grown food.
The short growing season and bad soil are bad excuses. Greenhouses would pop up all over to grow food if the demand and freedom to sell it were there. As for the soil we have to get past the right wing only thinking in this state and look and see how people are learning to grow amazing things in a desert. (See you-tube greening the desert). It is out there but we have to get past the we must use tons of water and poison on the ground to get things to grow.
Demand, buy, sell and grow local for stronger State, rights, earth, and body.

Michael Shay said...

HB 54 does need our support. And bad soil and short growing season are poor excuses. Much can be done (and is being done) in Wyoming to grow edible foods and eliminate the crap we get from the megastores.