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The Power of Local Food Procurement

BY ALI LONG

Imagine that your favorite local charity event includes a meal that’s not only one of the best you’ve ever tasted, but also minimizes your environmental footprint, infuses your local economy and benefits your health. This is the power of local food procurement.

Local food procurement helps support local farmers, preserves farmland and provides jobs in food production, processing and sales. Puget Sound Regional Council launched a campaign to encourage organizations to buy 10 percent of their food from local sources, and more cities, counties, businesses, institutions, and school districts are initiating policies and initiatives to drive local food purchasing.

Two Wood River Valley organizations – Sawtooth Botanical Garden (SBG) and Wood River Community YMCA (the Y) – are leading the way toward positive community impact through local food procurement. At last year’s annual fundraisers, they served locally sourced, sustainably produced meals provided by Wood River Sustainability Center’s Al McCord and At Your Place caterers Becky and Steve Ludwig.

Both SBG and the Y plan to provide fresh, Idaho-grown food again this year. Their commitment to serving local, sustainably produced food closely aligns with their organizational missions. On July 30, guests at the Y Classic will experience the community health benefits of highly nutritious, locally procured, mostly organic meats, fruits and vegetables; on August 12, SBG’s Soiree in the Garden attendees will enjoy a dinner that promotes sustainable growing practices.

For both events, Local Food Alliance (LFA) has created a Homegrown Food Guide designed to introduce consumers to local producers, explain community-supported agriculture, and encourage people to actively seek local products. LFA envisions a community-wide local food procurement policy that empowers all local organizations to benefit donors, residents and visitors, our local economy and the environment.

To get a copy of LFA’s Homegrown Food Guide (with a $10 donation), contact info@localfoodalliance.org.

As director of Local Food Alliance, Ali Long works to create a robust local food system in the Wood River Valley.

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