[montanafood_ag] FW: Eating Local-Eating Well: News about Local Food Initiatives in Red Lodge - January 2012

Kevin Moore kmoore at aeromt.org
Mon Jan 9 10:00:45 MST 2012



From: Red Lodge Area Food Partnership Council [mailto:foodpartnership=gmail.com at mail73.us2.mcsv.net] On Behalf Of Red Lodge Area Food Partnership Council
Sent: Monday, January 09, 2012 4:31 AM
To: Kevin
Subject: Eating Local-Eating Well: News about Local Food Initiatives - January 2012


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“Across America, the grass roots food movement seems to be arising from a common feeling that we have lost our center.....people are seeking to find a new center, to create meaning and purpose in their lives, to restore harmony and balance in their relationships with the land, food, and each other.”
Reclaiming our Food by Tanya Denckla Cobb.


 In this issue:

·         Come Shop our Mini Winter Market

·         It Takes a Community….to Build a Garden

·         Celebrating A Year of Local Food

·         Calling all Producers and Chefs!

·         Local Doesn’t Always Mean Sustainable

·         Local Foods Commerce Day, Feb. 6

·         Have You Tried?

·         Want to get More Involved?

·         Suggested Reading



Come Shop our Mini Winter Market
Thursday, Jan. 12 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Elks Club
With the wind howling and the snow flying, we can’t help starting to dream about the sight and smell and taste of fresh produce that we will grow in our gardens this summer or buy at the Farmers’ Market.  And about the other delicious locally grown and produced food we enjoyed last summer, including local meat, baked goods, and value-added products like jam, herb butter, and pesto sauce.  In fact, we missed this wonderful food so much; we have worked with some of the vendors from the summer Farmers Market to offer their products on a limited, monthly basis this winter.
A few of our members have been working with an organic produce coop, and we decided to use the monthly produce pick-up as a start of a customer base and offer the opportunity to local producers and Farmers Market vendors to sell their products in the off-season.
Please plan to join us for our mini winter market from 10 am to 1 pm, starting on Thursday, January 12th at the Elks Club (114 N. Broadway) in Red Lodge.  The Elks Club will have their bar open and offer lunch for sale, and they have a great space for people to relax, purchase refreshments and do some shopping with our local vendors. For more information, contact Janet Peterson at  <mailto:foodpartnership at gmail.com> foodpartnership at gmail.com or (406) 425-3806.

  <http://gallery.mailchimp.com/2fbe6c228fd21040e1d8459e4/files/raised_bed_web.jpg> It Takes a Community….to Build a Garden
Red Lodge students don’t only want to eat fresh, local food. They also want to grow it! So in partnership with Red Lodge Public Schools and the Boys & Girls Club, FPC is developing a Community Youth Garden. The garden will be a space where youth and community members can learn, through hands-on activities, about where their food comes from. These experiences are empowering, as youth become excited about eating nutritious, local food that they helped to grow. Through school visits, afterschool activities, and summer programming, the garden will become an outdoor classroom for students, teachers, and community members. 
But to make it happen, we need your help! There are ways for everyone to get involved. In addition to looking for donations of your time, mentorship, and gardening expertise in the spring, this winter we’re seeking out community members who have available land or materials to donate.
We’re looking into a few potential garden sites throughout town, but would also like to learn of any other available plots. The site requirements are as follows:
·      within walking distance of the K-8 school and the Boys & Girls Club
·      has access to water  <http://gallery.mailchimp.com/2fbe6c228fd21040e1d8459e4/files/garden_startersweb.jpg> 
·      relatively flat terrain
·      storage space for tools and parking
·      large enough for 6-8 large raised beds

Do you own, or know of, a location that fits these needs? Please let us know!
Once we’ve identified a location, it will be time to get building! We’re looking for any fencing, soil, seeds, and tools that you may have to donate for the garden. Contact FoodCorps member Alyssa Charney at  <mailto:redlodge.foodcorps at gmail.com> redlodge.foodcorps at gmail.com with your ideas to help Red Lodge grow this Community Youth Garden. Thank you!  

Continuing the Work: Celebrating A Year of Local Food
In February 2011, our Beartooth Front Community Forum: Improving Community Well-Being Through Food was the event that propelled our local food movement into action. Over the past year, we have had many successes, and our work continues. We would like you to join us in celebrating this milestone at a celebratory dinner on Saturday, February 18, at the Elks Club, Red Lodge. This event will feature not only local food but also local art. Come at 6:00 p.m. to view art from the Red Lodge Clay Center, have a drink, and mix with other local foodies. Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. Reservations will be required. We have yet to finalize costs, so look for more info later.
As with the forum last year, dinner will feature a vast array of local food available in the middle of winter. At this time, we will recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to local food efforts in the past year. We will also have an update on local food success stories from around the area. We look forward to reconnecting with all of you—our neighbors and community. For more information, contact Janet Peterson at  <mailto:foodpartnership at gmail.com> foodpartnership at gmail.com or (406) 425-3806.
Calling all Producers and Chefs!
FPC invites local chefs to participate in our “Continuing the Work: Celebrating One Year of Local Food” event on Feb. 18. Each participating chef will be asked to prepare one dish for approximately 100 people. Producers—please tell us what you will have available prior to the Feb. 18 event. Contact Janet Peterson at  <mailto:foodpartnership at gmail.com> foodpartnership at gmail.com or (406) 425-3806.
  <http://gallery.mailchimp.com/2fbe6c228fd21040e1d8459e4/files/jw_web.jpg> Local Doesn’t Always Mean Sustainable
By Jessica Williams, Food and Nutrition Services Manager, Livingston HealthCare

Note from the Food Partnership Council: Jessica was one of our panel speakers at last year’s “Beartooth Front Community Forum: Improving Community Well-Being Through Food”. We asked Jessica to contribute an article to our newsletter. Thank you, Jessica, for your input and excellent suggestions.
The USDA recently reported that local food demand is growing faster than infrastructure. In the report “Direct and Intermediate Marketing of Local Foods in the US” data was examined and found that marketing of local foods grossed $4.8 billion in 2008.  It found that most local foods are sold through intermediate channels such as grocery, restaurants and retailers. Large farms defined as having annual revenue of more than $250,000 accounted for 92% of the value of these sales and marketed exclusively through intermediate channels. On the other end of the spectrum small farms defined as having annual revenue less than $50,000 accounted for 81% of farms reporting local food sales in 2008 and were more likely to rely on direct to consumer marketing outlets such as roadside stands and farmers markets.
Talk of local food is everywhere, but what does local mean? Local means different things to different people and just because it comes from within your county doesn’t necessarily mean it was produced sustainably. Sustainable agriculture involves food production methods that are healthy, do not harm the environment, respect workers, are humane to animals, provide fair wages to farmers, and support farming communities. Sustainability includes buying food as locally as possible. But buying local food does not guarantee that it is sustainably produced. Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, factory farming, hormone use, and non-therapeutic use of antibiotics can all be involved in local food production, so it's important to make sure that the local food you buy is from farmers or gardeners using sustainable methods. When considering the sustainability of a product there are a lot of questions to ask, so if a store or producer is advertising that their food was raised locally, take the time to ask a few questions and get to know your farmer or rancher.

·         How are your animals raised? On pasture, indoors, confined?

·         What do you feed your animals? How much time to they spend outside per day?

·         Are your animals given hormones, steroids, growth promoters or antibiotics?


·         Who grows the produce and where is the farm located?

·         How big is the farm?

·         Are chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers used on your crops?

·         Is your farm diversified with many different varieties of produce?

·         Does your farm grow any heirloom varieties?

·         Are any of your products genetically engineered varieties?  

Getting to know your farmers and ranchers and understanding their practices will help you make an informed purchasing decision. Appreciate their efforts, local producers are competing in a market run by huge corporations and they need our continued support!  
Local Foods Commerce Day, Feb. 6
One of the challenges of the local food movement is how to connect our producers and consumers. How can we get quality locally produced food from the farm/ranch to our community? To facilitate this process, FPC strongly encourages producers and buyers to attend Western Sustainability Exchange’s Local Foods Commerce Day, Monday, February 6th, at Mansfield Education Center, 2900 12th Avenue North #30 W, Billings.
Western Sustainability Exchange will present Montana’s premier training and marketing event. They will describe how to simplify and streamline the production, processing, distribution, and availability of sustainably produced, local food. This event will also present an update on food trends, labeling and certifications, GMO’s, and agriculture issues, and allow you to network with like-minded peers involved in our sustainable food system.
The afternoon session for WSE members will entail Speed Dating where a producer and a buyer are paired to discuss their specific “haves and wants” followed by pairing with a different producer or buyer. This allows producers to target exactly what a given buyer is seeking and the buyer to determine what a given producer has to offer. This is a fun and effective method.
Producers: Connect with markets interested in your sustainable products.  Learn about WSE’s Sustainability Criteria and what it can do for your business and your bottom line.  Download, fill out and submit the  <http://foodpartnership.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=2fbe6c228fd21040e1d8459e4&id=537ff90acf&e=038c9183db> Sustainability Criteria to see if you qualify.
Buyers: Connect with local producers, distributors and processors of sustainably grown foods.  Learn about WSE programs that promote sustainable agriculture and ease the hassle of sourcing local products.
If you are interested in attending this event, contact Annie Conley, Market Connection Program Director, Western Sustainability Exchange at (406) 222-0730 or  <mailto:aconley at wsestaff.org> aconley at wsestaff.org.
  <http://gallery.mailchimp.com/2fbe6c228fd21040e1d8459e4/files/lentil.jpg> Have You Tried?
Red lentils are high in protein and fiber. These tiny treasure troves of nutrition are also a good source of folic acid. When dried, these lentils have a reddish or orangey color. But once cooked, they turn a paler yellow or become golden. Red varieties taste the same as the brown or green legumes, but they cook more quickly and might not retain their disc-like shape. Unlike dried beans, you don't need to soak lentils before using them. Yet, it's a good idea to give them a cold-water rinse beforehand and pick out any small stones or debris.
Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup red lentils
3 medium onions
750 grams or 26 oz. sweet potatoes
5 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup coriander, chopped (or less to your taste)
1 lemon
Salt and black pepper
Peel and roughly chop the onions and sweet potatoes - can be chunky.

1.	Combine with the stock, lentils, garlic, cumin, cayenne and turmeric in a pot.
2.	Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer until the potatoes and lentils are cooked - about 20-30 minutes.
3.	Puree the soup, adding in the coriander and the juice of the lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Want to get More Involved?
Join FPC or attend our meetings as a guest if you’re interested in helping. The next meeting is January 12th at 4 p.m. We meet once per month at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 24 West 13th Street in Red Lodge. Meetings include progress reports on subjects such as gardening, producer/consumer coordination, composting, and school food programs. Contact Martha Brown at  <mailto:mbrown.mt at gmail.com> mbrown.mt at gmail.com or call (406) 445-7214.    
Suggested Reading
 <http://foodpartnership.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=2fbe6c228fd21040e1d8459e4&id=425877250b&e=038c9183db> Organic Agriculture May Be Outgrowing Its Ideals, by Elisabeth Rosenthal as published in The New York Times, December 30, 2011
Even as more Americans buy foods labeled organic, the products are moving away from a traditional emphasis on local growing and limited environmental strain.  
 <http://foodpartnership.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2fbe6c228fd21040e1d8459e4&id=5f03a56f23&e=038c9183db> An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Sustainable Farming, Montana State University Extension Service MontGuide


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