Networking to Strengthen the Local Food System

Tuesday, 01 January 2013 23:09

By Dan Hoffman, 

GreenStar Community Projects Board Member and GreenStar Council Member

12-12 Brandon_Glen
Glenn Bergman, General Manager of Weavers Way Co-op in Philadelphia, with GreenStar General Manager Brandon Kane, at one of the recent networking sessions. Glenn spoke about the innovative programs supported by Weavers Way to expand food security and promote food justice in Philadelphia.

 

All across our county and our region, organizations, businesses, and individuals are busily engaged in an inspiring variety of efforts to build a food system that is more locally and regionally based, that is more ecologically sound and sustainable, and that is more just. Now, as a result of a pair of exciting gatherings in November and December, it appears that there will be an ongoing network to foster communication, cooperation, and collaboration among these efforts in our area.

As the final component of its 2012 Food Summit, GreenStar Community Projects (the tax-exempt affiliate of GreenStar Co-op) assembled representatives from more than 60 local organizations, farms, and other businesses for two all-evening networking sessions — each of which included a shared meal based primarily on locally grown foods prepared to perfection by the GreenStar Deli. A total of 70 people took part in the sessions, with most of them attending both nights. The Park Foundation and GreenStar Co-op provided financial support for the event.

Speakers emphasized the importance of keeping multiple objectives in mind:

Read more: Networking to Strengthen the Local Food System

 

Reflections

Tuesday, 01 January 2013 22:43

By Patrice Lockert Anthony

Patrice2012 is out, and 2013 is in. As this new year begins, what are some of our lessons? Reflections are funny things. Necessarily, they exist within the parameters of 20/20 vision. How do we make better, wiser, more thoughtful decisions without the (debatable) gift of prescience? Upon reflection, what is our measure for this year just passed?

We are believers in the cooperative movement, but what does that mean? Are we a community, or an exclusive enclave? Do we understand the world around us and how it operates (as well as how we operate within it)? Who are we within the cooperative construct? Does being in the movement alter who we are, or are we in the movement because we were different beings to begin? Perhaps both cases are true. I don't suppose it's really important to know which, or in which order it happened. Of more import is our measure now.

What is our measure? Do we believe in the cooperative principles, or is it just a cool thing to do, or even just a convenience for our families? Do we believe in it for ourselves, but don't really care whether others are on board? If we do care, do our lives (our daily doings) reflect this care? If necessary, how do we decide to do things differently? What is our process for making things happen in our lives? What operates as our driving force? How might that driving force effect change in the rest of our lives, whether it be a new health paradigm, or how we treat others?

The place where our cooperative hearts meet our lived lives is where our measure for this past year is to be taken. It isn't about pass or fail, so much as it is about whom we've chosen to be, from the inside, out. Are we satisfied with that measure? As we greet another year, our opportunities are renewed, and even expanded. We can take time to teach someone to cook using whole foods. We can donate to Loaves and Fishes, or a similar program, in order to better enable them to provide more whole grains, fresh produce, etc., to the people they serve. We could take our children to visit or help out at a food bank or homeless shelter.

Enriching our children's community and world perspectives is a great way to take measure of a lived life. We can also choose to be kinder, from our thoughts to our actions. I'm not sure those can be considered kind who do or say the right thing, but think the ugly thing. Representing the cooperative principles requires more than purchasing our food at a co-op. Living the cooperative principles is good, clean food, though. Food prepared in ways that leave it whole, and nurturing to body and soul. Water, untainted by fracking's damage. It is also friendships that are true, and fulfill us. Families that are healthy and happy.

Read more: Reflections

Lucky '13?

Tuesday, 01 January 2013 22:23

maya-calendar-1If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.

— Maya Angelou

By Joe Romano, 

Marketing Manager

Although the world was predicted to end at the end of December 2012, on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula Mayas "continue their daily lives, industriously pedaling three-wheeled bikes laden with family members and animal fodder down table-flat roads. They tell rhyming off-color jokes at dances, and pull chairs out onto the sidewalk in the evening to chat and enjoy the relative cool after a hot day," according to the Associated Press, who joined thousands of other news outlets in the small town of Uh-May, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, gathering a story that, if proved true, would never be reported.

They found many of the residents living simply in thatched, oval, mud-and-stick houses designed mostly for natural air conditioning against the oppressive heat of the Yucatan, where they plant corn, harvest oranges, and raise pigs.

Read more: Lucky '13?

 

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