I will be moving to a farm in central Pennsylvania in the summer of 2008. I will be cultivating five acres of organic produce and would like to do more than just sell to restaurants or farmer's markets. I would like our food to reach marginilized populations and neighborhoods that have no access to local, organic, and healthful food (areas with only liquor stores and gas station fair).
Education and outreach will be a major component of this endeavor. A space for classes on nutrition, cooking, diet, and healthy living will be a part of the effort. Along with providing food to people in an equitable and sustainable manner, I would also like to honor the diveristy of food cultures present in the United States. I would like to grow seeds, heirloom varieties, of foods that are becomming extinct because of our industrial food system. I will teach people about saving seeds, preserving ancient food traditions, and, of course, how to grow their own food.
I believe that food depositories and food pantries are crucial in feeding America's hungry populations, but they often do not provide patrons with enough healthy choices. And they are not empowering them to become more self-sufficient. Encouraging a connection to place, knowledge of gardening, and healthful culinary traditions will allow people to develop their own food cultures that are more sustainable and healthy.
There is no shortage of food in this world. We have enough food in this world to make everyone on the globe fat. Food inequities have more to do with distribution and agribusiness policies and government subsidies. Most of the farmland in this country is not immediately edible (we are not growing varied crops for local populations, but monocultures of soybeans and corn). These are grown for an energy-intensive food processing industry, that is poisoning the water, soil, is dependent on fossil fuels, and absolutely NOT feeding people.
If I had a grant money to buy a box truck, bio-diesel powered, I could have a mobile food pantry. Instead of dropping off packaged foods to people, I would deliver local, organic, fresh produce at a very affordable price, to people who truly need it. I could visit different metropolitan areas of Pennsylvania each week and drive from neighborhood to neighborhood with fresh deliveries. Over time we would have a consistent delivery schedule and other employees to help with the operation.
Eventually we could establish centers of education, connections to hospital cafaterias, public schools, and foster relationships to other farmers in the area. We could teach people about the medicinal and nutritive powers of food, teach them how to grow their own food, how to feed their families holistically, and include the whole population (not just the economically privileged) in the organic food movement.