by Ande Finley
Imagine the supply lines for food shipped to the San Juan Islands disrupted, as they were during this past year’s pandemic, semi-trucks not able to ferry over the stock upon which we all depend for our weekly menus. Now imagine instead a large-scale vibrant local food system with tens of farmers producing all of the meat, produce, dairy and grains that are the basic framework of our daily meals. No matter what disasters are occurring in the outer world, we will continue to eat well and support a healthy agricultural economy. Which scenario would you choose?
On July 11, the Eat Local! Campaign kicks off with a Zoom exploration of why eating locally and seasonally is the right choice and how to launch the adventure. This regional session will be facilitated by local author and innovator, Vicki Robin, who has written extensively on the subject with her book “Blessing the Hands that Feed Us” and successfully challenged herself to eat 90% of her food grown within 10 miles of her home.
To make a local food system a reality will take eaters — that’s all of you out there — committing to purchasing food that is currently being grown here in the islands. Each island has numerous farm stands, CSAs, farmers markets, locally grown food featured in our grocery stores, and an expanding countywide food hub, https://sjifh.com, that has grown exponentially over the last year in response to consumer demand for products being produced closer to home.
In June 2020, a group of transition initiatives formed the Salish Sea Regional Hub to pool knowledge and resources to move their objective for more resilient futures a notch ahead. A committee soon formed to discuss the overarching mission of eating more locally and seasonally.
With the support of the Salish Sea Hub and Transition Lopez Island, Henning Sehmsdorf and Elizabeth Simpson published “Eating Locally and Seasonally: A Food Book for Lopez Island (and All Those Who Want to Eat Well)” in February 2021. Within a month, copies were in every major bookstore in the region. Copies can be purchased at the Lopez Bookshop; Blossom Grocery; and the Sunnyfield Farmstand; checked out from Lopez Library; or downloaded for free from the Transition Lopez Island website.
Eat Local! Campaign is the hub’s next project, offering three separate weeks this summer to the wider community to experience different aspects of what eating locally is all about. July will focus on “Exploring”; August on “Sharing”; and September on “Preserving.” The elements of local eating will be broken down to their most basic components to encourage beginners to taste what their community offers.
Different weeks of the Eat Local! Campaign will feature Zoom discussions around YouTube videos made by Sehmsdorf and Simpson, short pieces by other farmers and local celebrity chefs, potlucks, contests and prizes, and group sessions on food preservation.
Eat Local! Campaign is co-sponsored by Transition Lopez Island, the Salish Sea Regional Transition Hub, the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild, and the Lopez Locavores.
To join the Eat Local! Campaign or find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Transition Lopez Island website, transitionlopezisland.org.