The State of Our Food System Updates

On May 16, 2019, Sun Valley Institute (SVI)’s food and farm program, Local Food Alliance (LFA), co-hosted a day-long series of briefings and workshops on the findings of a new Community Food System Strategic Plan.  

Last year, in partnership with Blaine County Food Council (BCFC) and University of Idaho, LFA engaged one of the country’s foremost food system analysts, Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center, to identify key goals and strategies for strengthening our regional food and farm economy. Ken interviewed 61 food system leaders and compiled economic data for the county and the region, and recommended top actions to be taken by our community.

Priority actions include:

  1. Unify Community Foods Coordination
  2. Build an Inclusive Food System
  3. Increase Access Through a Wholesale Producer Partnership
  4. Ensure the Success of Our Local Farmers’ Markets

As we work to implement these recommendations, community food leaders will continue gathering key data points and a clearer picture of our through Food Asset and Need Mapping. At SVI’s recent Blaine County Resilience Workshops, community members voiced interest in a multi-use collaborative food space and increased regenerative agricultural practices. Once all existing resources, from production facilities to commercial kitchens to cold storage, are inventoried and mapped, we’ll understand what gaps remain and how to build on current assets to address our community’s needs.

Local Food Alliance recently assumed the coordination and staffing of Blaine County Food Council, founded in 2015 as a grassroots, multi-stakeholder group that includes representatives from University of Idaho Extension, Local Food Alliance, The Hunger Coalition, Blaine County Commissioners and Hailey City Council, as well as food system advocates, farmers and nutrition experts. Through BCFC, we will get a broad coalition of food system leaders working together to launch new initiatives and achieve concrete goals. Please reach out to Amy@sunvalleyinstitute.org or Stacy@sunvalleyinstitute.org to learn more and get involved. Together, we can overcome challenges and embrace new opportunities!

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