Promoting Sustainability in East Jefferson County, WA
Here is Local 20/20s’ January Column in the Port Townsend Leader (Thank you, PT Leader!), titled Resilience Review. It is copied below, as submitted.
Food Resilience in Jefferson County
by Judy Alexander
One thing we all have in common: FOOD. We all eat food. It may not be true, though, that we all eat locally sourced food!
Have you ever stopped to think where your food will come from if we have a weather or disaster event that shuts down the supply line access? Most grocery stores have, at most, a 3-day supply. Do you have more than that at home?
Not only weather or the unexpected disaster event could disrupt our food supply. Economic conditions, farmer’s age, farm workers availability, access to farm land, and customer awareness of food choices, all play into the food system function. Balancing these aspects requires an ever dynamic assessment.
Historically, local efforts to strengthen access to local food assisted in starting Food Bank and neighborhood-based community gardens throughout Jefferson County, most of which still currently operate, and periodically have room for new members to join, a great way to learn more about growing your own food.
The Jefferson County Farm Survey of 2012 also can inform you of the health and well-being of our local farming concerns, although much has changed, in good ways, since the survey was published.
More recently, Local 20/20’s food action group envisioned creating a local food system council that incorporated the myriad elements intertwined with food including growing seed, farming, local value added production, selling food, nutrition education, food regulatory law, and managing food waste, to name some of them.
The Jefferson County Local Food System Council (JCLFSC), formally launched in January 2015, is populated by members who play some role across the entire food system. Their goal is removing barriers to expanding and strengthening our food system, thereby building our local food security and resilience. It recently merged with Local 20/20 and became its Food Action group.
In 2018 JCLFSC’s Education and Outreach Committee is launching two projects to engage our entire county in conversations about food. Using a food syllabus, Menu for the Future, updated in 2017 by the Northwest Earth Institute, people throughout Jefferson County will be hosting discussions in their homes or elsewhere, with friends and neighbors. Each group behaves like a book discussion group yet with the benefit of reading multiple authors per chapter. Much of the value goes beyond the article content and extends to what each member brings to the exchange. Contact menuforthefuture@L2020.org to learn more about participating.
A FREE 10-week Farm Film Festival, starting January 22nd continues on most Monday evenings into April at the Jefferson County Library. Movies will elicit conversation, broaden perspectives about food and farming, and, hopefully increase our commitment to supporting our local farms and food system.
Additionally, JCLFSC will also be actively participating in a food system wide Eat Local First campaign (ELF). Look for more on this as the campaign develops.
To learn more about all of the above mentioned food initiatives, see: www.L2020.org
To communicate with the Local Food System Council, email email@example.com or see their Facebook page.
Judy Alexander, a longtime Port Townsend resident and one of the founders of Local 20/20, is the current facilitator of the monthly Jefferson County Local Food System Council. She has actively supported the initiation of many local-food-related programs designed to increase our collective food security.