Do you have access to fresh, healthy food? Do you know where your food comes from? How was it grown? Who grew it? How far did it travel to get to your plate? Why does that matter?
February 6th, at Marion Polk Food Share’s Local Food Summit, you have an opportunity to connect with many others to learn about the current state of the Mid-Willamette Valley’s food system – and to get involved to make it even better.
‘You are what you eat’ really is true. Eating locally does impact your health and overall well-being. Eating food that is grown locally, especially when it is grown organically, integrates loads of great nutrition into your body while also feeding the soil and local organisms that all work together to keep the ecosystem healthy. Eating locally also brings local microorganisms into your digestive system, improving your health and adapting you to your specific, local environment. When you purchase food grown nearby, you lessen the amount of fuel needed to transport that food, you lessen emissions created by that transportation, and you strengthen the local economy by keeping dollars in your communities. But what about your access to locally produced food? Is there a farm stand near you? Do you have to travel very far to get fresh produce?
Marion Polk Food Share (MPFS), whose mission is to end hunger in the mid-Willamette Valley, has been examining our local food system for the past year and 1/2 and is ready to share their findings with everyone who is interested. This February 6th, MPFS is holding a Mid-Valley Food Summit on Willamette University’s campus at the Putnam University Center. It will be a day-long event offering attendees the opportunity to learn about regional farm and food issues, access to healthy food, and to invite everyone to engage in collaborative plans to improve the Mid-Willamette Valley food system.
At the Food Summit, you’ll hear about the Mid-Valley Community Food Assessment which will describe the results of discussions with people in the surrounding areas (Woodbury, Silverton, Grand Ronde, Stayton, and Independence) and share their specific situations around food access and equity. You’ll then hear about Salem’s food system and then Oregon State University extension will present their new small farms program. After a locally sourced lunch, you’ll get to choose from a variety of sessions about aspects of our food system and how we can work more closely to create a wonderful, resilient and equitable food future.
Here at Pringle Creek Community (PCC), we are part of the local Mid-Willamette Valley food system and serve as a model of how that food system can work and how people can increase access to locally grown, organic produce and fruit. We grow a lot of produce in our glasshouses and in our outside gardens. Our residents grow produce and flowers in their garden plots. PCC offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to residents and folks from the surrounding community. We also have a variety of fruit in our orchards and eggs from our chickens and ducks available to residents and our CSA clients. We offer to teach others how they can grow their own food, too! Colleen, our Urban Farmer, offers an Urban Farming 8-class series (starting in early February), to folks who’d like to learn how to garden or improve their gardening skills. In the classes, students learn about fruit tree pruning, soil health, gardening pests, beneficial bugs and a lot more. We appreciate the benefits of a resilient, strong local food system, and we encourage everyone to attend support the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Summit.