Growing food as locally as possible is a key component of the sustainability movement and addresses a number of problems:
- Increasing cost of healthy food due to high cost of fuel to transport
- Lack of access for some people to healthy food options
- Better control over food quality (big agri-business practices have created some big health problems)
- Reduced use of pesticides and herbicides
- Allows more careful attention to health of plants and soil than large industrial farms
The city-wide group, Gardening Matters, has been very active throughout Minneapolis in getting gardens started. But there are a host of other challenges to increasing urban agriculture.
A wonderful conversation is taking place at Gandhi Mahal restaurant around issues of local food. A group of Longfellow neighbors has been meeting for the past two months to talk about the practical needs people encounter with growing, harvesting, distributing and storing food. Topics have included:
- Increasing the number of community gardens
- Garden planning
- Ways to help existing gardeners share their produce with those who do not have enough to eat
- How local restaurants can coordinate with local gardeners to increase their use of organic local produce
- Food preservation — classes for cooking, processing and preserving produce
- A food storage bank where residents can cold store processed produce for later use
- Energy efficient greenhouses
Longer-term food storage (finding the right conditions to keep your produce through an entire winter) is one of the immediate projects the group is undertaking.
If you are interested in joining the local food conversation, leave a comment on the blog. I’ll connect you with the organizers.