CREATING A HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE, ACCESSIBLE
LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM
Growing Local is a coalition of groups and individuals in the north state who value local, healthy food and are determined to find ways to introduce more local, healthy food into the lives of area residents. To this end, the coalition hosted Go Local! A Forum on the Future of our Food held in Redding early in 2011. Almost 200 people attended the day-long forum.
Interactive panels addressed the following topics:
Encouraged by large and enthusiastic turnouts at January forum and the first Growing Local general meeting of 2011, the Growing Local steering committee organized a broad-based meeting to update the strategic plan, bringing together coalition partners and the eager general community to identify ways the community can participate meaningfully to invigorate a healthy food system and food economy. To achieve a realistic strategic plan with broad-based ownership, an Appreciative Inquiry addressing the topic Imagine a Healthy Future: Planning the Ideal Food System was held on May 25, 2011 at the Gaia Shasta Hotel in Anderson. The goal was to produce strategies that would create a healthy, sustainable and accessible local food system.
Twenty people from the region who represented various food production and distribution sectors attended this event that started in the afternoon and concluded at 8:30 pm. The Appreciative Inquiry approach leads strategic planners through a series of steps starting with paired interviews focusing on positive experiences with the local food system.
Following the paired interviews, the participants shared their stories in two groups of eight, one self-titled the "Food Web Group" and the other "All Things Food." The Food Web Group distilled these strengths of the local food system from their interviews:
FOOD WEB GROUP
The other group, All Things Food, culled these strengths from their shared stories:
ALL THINGS FOOD
PROVOCATIVE PROPOSITIONSSTRATEGIC ACTIONS
The two groups’ next task was to fold the identified strengths into statements that would support and, indeed, provoke actions. To ensure that both the right and left hemispheres had opportunities to contribute to the propositions that would provoke community action, each group improvised a skit and/or song. The two groups then incorporated the values that were most important to their collective whole brains in statements to guide future efforts--a strategic plan.Proposition 2:
We are committed to work toward a sustainable future where local food plays an essential role in building a healthy community which supports and encourages the growth of our regional agricultural economy.
We seek to inspire our community to embrace a local sustainable food supply and support the growers, producers and consumers who live in it.
Given that food is the source of life, we recognize the interconnectedness of all systems related to food. We support the relationships between local food growers and consumers and the conservation of agricultural resources as the foundation of a healthy, just and prosperous community.
The provocative propositions suggested these strategic actions:
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