I really appreciate each of you for participating in the conversation about the local carrots vs. global organic carrots. By learning together, having meaningful dialogue, and sharing opportunities to act, I believe we can have a positive impact of AK foods system and get more locally grown foods into the hands of those of us who want them.
There are a number of barriers to overcome before the Alaska box option is a reality. The first major hurtle would be to identify all the producers who grow and store vegetables in volume; of those, who would be willing to participate in starting program like this? The second obstacle would be securing a site to fill the boxes and then we would need a trucking and air transport plan to distribute the boxes. In my mind each of these steps would need to happen regionally. The next hurtle would be educating the public about the AK box and why everything in the box might not be organic.
An all-organic Alaska veggie box might be the goal of this initiative but until we move from a percentage of eating only 2% local to 50% local, there just isn’t enough local organic produce to meet the supply of our demand. But how we increase the supply of organic produce and get new farmers or transition conventional farmers into growing organically, I’m not sure.
What I do know is that the farmers farming in Alaska right now are Living Libraries. Each of them knows how to grow food. This knowledge comes from years of trial, error, and thoughtful observation, skills that can’t be learned in a book. Aside from nurturing loving parents, and brilliant educators who inspire learners to excel, farmers are the most important members of our community. Given our current state of food insecurity Alaskans can’t afford to be too choosey. If the few farmers we have give-up because the market is too small, risks too high, the profits too low, and decide to stop producing food for Alaska, our food system will cease to exist. I see the concept of an all Alaskan box as an opportunity to engage each other and farmers in a dialogue about rejuvenating Alaska’s food system. To do this we must all play our part with enthusiasm.
So what are we to do? At some point soon those organic carrots from California, that we enjoy so much, will be too expensive to import… when this happens, hopefully the local carrot farmer held out and maybe implemented some organic methods, because WE supported them through their transition.
I guess that's all for tonight...
Chew happily and wisely (32 times)