“Building collaboration…is to swim upstream against powerful currents that reinforce individualism and isolation. This work can be difficult…but does bring long-term benefits that reinforce each other over time.” ~Ken Meter, Community Food System Strategic Plan, 2019
As the harvest season winds down in the Wood River Valley, we have much to celebrate. Throughout the region, farmers, chefs, food businesses and organizations are working to bring farm-fresh food to our plates. Our vision of an agrarian community with abundant food, well-nourished citizens, thriving family farms, and vibrant farmers markets offers the promise of economic prosperity and a healthier future for all.
For the local food movement to succeed, however, we can’t operate in silos. Food producers, buyers, distributors, and others must work together to overcome barriers and create strong business networks.
Earlier this year, a Community Food System Strategic Plan commissioned by Sun Valley Institute highlighted the need for better collaboration among community food leaders. Missing, however, was a venue for making connections and developing new partnerships.
Now, Blaine County Food Council, a multi-stakeholder organization coordinated by Local Food Alliance, is stepping in to fill that gap. Starting this month, we will host regular community-building events to foster communication, coordination and collaboration among farmers, wholesale buyers, small food businesses, non-profits, and other key stakeholders.
Community food leaders and members of the public are invited to attend the first event in our new free series – Community Food Connections: Summer Economic Success Stories & Next Steps – Thursday, October 24, 9 to 10:45 a.m., at Upper Big Wood River Grange, 609 S. 3rd Avenue in Hailey.
Guest speakers Peter Atkinson of Atkinsons’ Market, Sherry Kraay of Kraay’s Market & Garden, and Katie Zubia of Wood River Farmers Market will provide updates on progress and challenges at three key local food access points. Please join us to network, connect, learn, and get inspired. To register, go to: http://communityfoodconnectionoct2019.eventbrite.com