Town pledges to do more to maintain open space

The Town of Cheshire pledges to do more to maintain its open space properties!

In today’s Cheshire Herald:

“Now that the Town owns a greenbelt of open space, it must develop a plan on how to maintain the upkeep needed to ensure residents will visit and utilize the properties.”
“In this year’s capital expenditure plan, Milone has proposed that the Town Council provide him with $116,000 for land management funds. This will allow the Town to go out and actively maintain the properties. In the past, Milone used an ad hoc method to maintain open space.”

Read the full article [subscription required] athttp://bit.ly/1dr2uQe

Long road from farm to fork worsens outbreaks

This is why building a local foods infrastructure is so important! If we eat food that’s in season from a farm in our community, these risks are so much smaller.

Outbreaks of listeria and other serious illnesses linked to tainted food are becoming more common, partly because much of what we eat takes a long and winding road from farm to fork.

Read more at http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_759890.html#ixzz1Zgla6apc

Rules and Reality Test Chefs Who Think Locally

Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times about how local-focused restaurants are dealing with the trials and tribulations of trying to utilize local foods on their menus.

Rules and Reality Test Chefs Who Think Locally
Jan Ellen Spiegel, New York Times
Published May 7, 2011

It sometimes seems that the Connecticut Department of Public Health, which oversees food protection and designates approved and unapproved food sources for restaurants, would rather see her cooking processed food than local farm stuff.

Click here to keep reading…

Farming History has Deep Roots in Cheshire

Here’s an interesting article with accompanying video about Cheshire’s agricultural roots:
http://cheshire.patch.com/articles/farming-history-has-deep-roots-in-cheshire

“As with many New England towns, Slocum said, farmers settled the area which became known as Cheshire. It was a farmer, Thomas Brooks who gave the town its name, and another farmer and former First Selectman, Burnsy B. Norton, whose name lives on at Norton Elementary school.”

Interesting upcoming event!

Walters has really embraced sustainable living and eating, and this should be an interesting event for all. Register online here.

Terry Walter’s Clean Start Book Signing & Tasting
Thursday, April 28 7:00pm
Cheshire Public Library

Terry Walters will present a cooking demo based on her new book CLEAN START. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing. Terry Walters’ first book, Clean Food, caused a sensation and fueled a nationwide movement about nourishment and clean food that’s been embraced all the way to the White House. Cooks, foodies, and anyone in search of a healthy and sustainable approach to eating and living well embraced her philosophy: eat minimally processed foods for maximum nutrition. Clean Food taught us the benefits of eating locally grown, seasonal, and fresh. And now, CLEAN START makes it even easier for everyone-from the kitchen novice to the seasoned chef-to eat clean. CLEAN START features 100 exciting new recipes for the foods we all need more of, featuring Terry’s signature quick, easy, and delicious preparations. CLEAN START inspires you to take the next step…no matter where you’re starting.

 

Wal-Mart and Local Food

LocalHarvest provides an interesting take on Wal-Mart latest initiative to buy more local produce, with a goal of 9% of the produce in its U.S. stores being from local (within the state of a given store) sources by 2015. The company also plans to provide training to over one million farmers and farm workers in crop selection and sustainable practices.

Here’s LocalHarvest’s take, from their latest email newsletter:

In college I dated someone whose response to ambiguous news was always, “Who’s to say what is good and what is bad?” At 22 I thought myself an excellent judge of the good and the bad. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last. I have thought of his question often over the years, though, and it came back to me last week when I read the New York Times article describing Walmart’s decision to make a major investment in local and sustainable foods.

On one hand, the thought of Walmart sticking its gigantic foot in the local food door seems potentially ruinous. The company is known for setting extremely low prices with its suppliers, and the margins on real food are already achingly slim. Would contracts with Walmart actually help farmers, or ultimately hurt them?

On the other hand, Walmart is going to get its apples and broccoli and onions from somewhere. It might as well be close to home, with some type of sustainable practices. Decentralizing food production is a good idea. If the planet’s biggest grocer turns sustained attention toward buying a significant amount of local food (which, according to the Times, they define as within the state) they could do a great deal to encourage the establishment and growth of mid-sized farms across the country. That would be a good thing.

Walmart may be able to procure foods grown within certain geographic boundaries, but for many of us, local food means more than that. For me, “local food” is a kind of shorthand for an entire ethic. In this ethic, food is produced under quality conditions, on a scale that feels human rather than corporate, by people whose focus is on natural resource stewardship as much as it is on the bottom line, in a business whose owners do right by their employees. On the consumer side of this ethic, the food is purchased, prepared and eaten with awareness of its true value.

All week I have been thinking about what single word would capture the feeling behind this ideal. The word I came up with was ‘kindness’. In my estimation, there is a broad, radical kindness that underlies the emerging alternative food economy, which ultimately is an economy based on relationship. It is hard for me to imagine that kindness and relationships are at the heart of the megastore’s buy local campaign. But it is also hard for me to imagine a future without grocery store chains. I fully expect that the groundswell of support for authentic food and small farmers will continue to grow and flourish. If, alongside it, the nation’s grocers begin engaging local farmers in their response to consumer demand for higher quality food, and if farmers are able to get fair prices, that would also be a good thing.

Is the fact that Wal-Mart will be purchasing more food locally, and reducing green house gas emissions in the process, a good thing? As LocalHarvest discusses, that’s an interesting question.

At Friends of Boulder Knoll, however, we believe that food is about more than the lettuce you pick or the potato you dig up. Food is about making connections. It’s about education, about learning where food comes from and how it is grown. It’s about people: the farmer and the consumer, not a brightly lit grocery store aisle.

We urge you to come out to the farm and find out what we’re all about. In the meanwhile, please share your thoughts on Wal-Mart’s latest move, and about what this means for the local food movement.