We want to thank everyone who joined us at the recent dinner and discussion focused on our local food system and all the ways we can support it.
Thanks, as well, to our event facilitator, Jean Hamilton, and the fantastic panel of experts who led an engaging, informative and eye-opening discussion. Jason Elberson, the owner of Sobremesa, focused on the need to value local food and responsible as well as regenerative agriculture, as well as the value of eating a seasonal diet.
“In our household, we do lots of home preserving to eat local year round, and we also only eat fresh produce as it’s in season, thus allowing us to build up anticipation and excitement for when asparagus is ready again in the spring, for example. We also supplement our diet with vegetables and animals we raise on our farm. We value the community and people producing the local food as much as we value the local food itself; this is where real, meaningful connections are made.” Jason says.
Our Lead Grocery Buyer, Olivia Dunton, spoke about consumers making the choice to buy local when they can and the importance of helping the Co-op support local by purchasing local. She described the efforts of the Co-op to provide promotion and highlighting of local products and programs, such as discounted local margin, designed “to give local products a step up, otherwise, they might struggle to compete.” She also emphasized the importance of providing resources for local vendors, such as market analysis or how to become retail-ready, that could be provided more at the state level and also more by the Co-op.
Jake Claro, Director of Vermont Farm to Plate, emphasized the need buy local, “because it does make a difference,” while adding that trying one new local product each month is just one great way to support local while discovering new items. He related a number of other ways consumers can support local in easy, manageable ways, such as using the Co-op as a resource for finding affordable, local items. While our state’s local food system gets a lot of attention and support, he added that, “We’re just scratching the surface, there is so much more to do.”