Might other Town Energy Committees hire food coordinators too? Or perhaps they could be coordinated with town Agricultural Commissions that are being set up throughout the state?
I'm currently heading an ad hoc committee for the Franklin County School Committee Caucus to bring local produce to schools throughout the region in coordination with the Farm to School Initiative. If each town had a Local Food coordinator, it would help make the task of bringing local food to our schools a whole lot easier.
|Wendell hires Local Food Coordinator|
WENDELL -- Elizabeth K. Carter of Turners Falls started her job Monday as the official Wendell Local Food Coordinator. In her position she will work to encourage a more local food system via more in-town and nearby growing activity, as well as greater use of that produce by Wendell residents.
Local Food Subcommittee chair Paul Costello said, "I'm very excited to have her on board with us."
Carter, a UMass graduate in soils science with a broad range of farming and organizing experience, said she considers "a thriving, sustainable food culture...essential to the economic vitality of rural communities."
Carter has worked on farms in Washington, New York and Massachusetts, pruned fruit trees in Belchertown, and cared for a small herd of dairy goats in Ireland. She founded a farm of several acres to supply the Mason Square Farmers' Market in Springfield.
She left college after Hurricane Katrina to try to be of help in New Orleans. There she soon found herself organizing over 2,000 volunteers in the gutting of homes in previously abandoned parts of the city's Lower Ninth Ward.
She called food production "an occupation [that is] both creative and collaborative."
The commitment of a town's money directly to increase its food security appears to be virtually unprecedented.
Last October, voters approved the appropriation of $5,000 to the Energy Committee for a two-year pilot program. The Wendell Energy Task Force, in its 2010 report, recommended the program, portraying New England as being at the tail end of a long food supply line and at the mercy of cheap, plentiful energy for growing and delivering (an average of 1,500 miles) its supermarket food.