Dane County Food Council announces new coalition
By Emily Eggleston | Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:39pm
The Dane County Food Council aims to create an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable local food system. At their celebration of National Food Day on Oct. 24, the council released an action plan to do just that.
Chair of the council, County Supervisor Melissa Sargent, welcomed the National Food Day crowd to Goodman Community Center. The audience included representatives from Sustainable Times, Community Action Coalition, Family Farm Defenders and Farm Fresh for All.
“We have a lot to celebrate,” Sargent said. “Our farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), our community gardens, and locally sourced foods in our grocery stores.”
Following her opener, council member and Community Groundworks Executive Director, Jill Jacklitz, explained a new piece of the council’s action plan, a food coalition. The coalition, she said, would help to coordinate all of the groups who are working towards similar goals regarding the county’s food system.
“We need to get to know each other,” Jacklitz said. “Many Dane County groups apply for the same grants, sometimes with similar ideas.”
The council’s proposed food coalition would attempt to streamline efforts and make the work of these groups more efficient.
“We’ve tried things like this in the past,” she said. “But this time UW Extension has funding to staff the coalition.” Jacklitz suggested that full time staff would make the goals of the coalition more viable.
Following the announcement of the coalition, Marathon county farmer Tony Schultz, delivered a keynote address. Schultz said a food coalition could help grow a local, sustainable food system. This is a contrast to our current system, he said, based on shipping and shelf life.
He sees development in local and sustainable production, but noted that it is still a very small part of the country’s food supply.
“I got a hoop house from President Obama,” he said. “And that’s great, but it is tokenism compared to the focus of the Farm Bill.” Schultz would like small-scale farmers to receive a bigger piece of the pie.
National Food Day was celebrated all across the country. National Food Day’s mission is to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way. The day is sponsored by Center for Science in the Public Interest and its honorary co-chairs are U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro.
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