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Local food discussion on the table

Local food is not just something people talk about in the Kalamazoo area. It’s something they partake in more ways than one.

Those ways were part of a discussion sponsored by the Michigan Environmental Council featuring panelists Kelly Leach of Avalon Farms, Paul Stermer, executive director of Fair Food Matters and Robb Hammond executive chef of Food Dance, who all talked about ways to strengthen Southwest Michigan’s food system. They were invited to share their views at the organization's third #ForwardDrinking event.

The panelists agreed that if the region is to become more self-sufficient in terms of feeding itself there are many things that people need to learn. Leach pointed out that schools no longer teach home economics and many people do not know how to cook or prepare foods that need to be preserved. Stermer said people do not understand that what they pay for food is unrealistically cheap because much of it is subsidized by the government and prices are artificially held down by other means. Hammond suggested that even those who shop at farmers markets should learn to know the farmers they buy from so they don’t come away with "Michigan bananas."

Among its initiatives, the Michigan Environmental Council works with state agencies to strengthen protections for Michigan’s water resources from the potentially harmful effects of agricultural runoff. It advocates for sustainable development that builds thriving downtowns, while preserving the best food-growing lands. And it works in Detroit and elsewhere to make sure that everyone has access to fresh, healthy foods.

More about the Michigan Environmental food-related priorities can be found in the agriculture and natural resources section of MEC's 50-Year Vision.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave
Source: Michigan Environmental Council #ForwardDrinking event
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