Event Title

Digging In: Exploring the Local Food Movement in Mid-Maine

Presenter Information

Arianna Porter, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

30-4-2015 9:00 AM

End Date

30-4-2015 10:55 AM

Project Type

Poster

Description

Food consumed today travels 1,500 miles on average from farm to plate. This is a result of a large shift towards industrial agriculture beginning after World War II. A decline of small farms is problematic, as production on large-scale farms requires massive inputs of chemical fertilizers and water. Additionally, these farms often pay immigrant employees less than enough money to feed themselves. In response, local food movements are beginning to gain popularity throughout the U.S. The goal of this study is explore the ways in which local food can be made more accessible in Mid-Maine. I interviewed many different people involved in the local food movement, from grocers to nutrition directors. In the first interviews, I noticed a common theme: institutions such as Colby should be emphasized in the spread of local food. In fact, they represent 58% of food consumption in the U.S. Therefore, I specifically focused on the emerging role of institutions in supporting local food. In my interviews it was apparent that institutions currently are restricted from buying local food because they require extreme volumes of produce. Additionally, they reported inconsistent availability and quality, difficulty making efficient purchases, and unreliable delivery with small farms. Many mid-sized farms that could provide the amount of produce necessary for institutions are unable to distribute their products. They are in need of storage, processing, and distribution infrastructure. Recently, local food hubs have arisen as a solution for mid-sized farm infrastructure. My research suggests that special attention should be given to food hubs and other development of processing and distribution infrastructure for mid-sized local farms. This will allow for more efficient spread of local produce in the U.S.

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Biology Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Natural Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

937

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Apr 30th, 9:00 AM Apr 30th, 10:55 AM

Digging In: Exploring the Local Food Movement in Mid-Maine

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Food consumed today travels 1,500 miles on average from farm to plate. This is a result of a large shift towards industrial agriculture beginning after World War II. A decline of small farms is problematic, as production on large-scale farms requires massive inputs of chemical fertilizers and water. Additionally, these farms often pay immigrant employees less than enough money to feed themselves. In response, local food movements are beginning to gain popularity throughout the U.S. The goal of this study is explore the ways in which local food can be made more accessible in Mid-Maine. I interviewed many different people involved in the local food movement, from grocers to nutrition directors. In the first interviews, I noticed a common theme: institutions such as Colby should be emphasized in the spread of local food. In fact, they represent 58% of food consumption in the U.S. Therefore, I specifically focused on the emerging role of institutions in supporting local food. In my interviews it was apparent that institutions currently are restricted from buying local food because they require extreme volumes of produce. Additionally, they reported inconsistent availability and quality, difficulty making efficient purchases, and unreliable delivery with small farms. Many mid-sized farms that could provide the amount of produce necessary for institutions are unable to distribute their products. They are in need of storage, processing, and distribution infrastructure. Recently, local food hubs have arisen as a solution for mid-sized farm infrastructure. My research suggests that special attention should be given to food hubs and other development of processing and distribution infrastructure for mid-sized local farms. This will allow for more efficient spread of local produce in the U.S.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/95