local food systems
Inspiration comes from many directions, even from tragedy. That was the case for Randy Bekendam, proprietor of Amy’s Farm, a 10-acre farm located south of Ontario, California. Bekendam runs Amy’s Farm with Amy herself, who is also his daughter.
Originally a cattle farm, Bekendam was moved to make a change and do something to bring the community together after a 3-year-old boy was killed by a drive-by shooter in nearby Pomona. Bekendam’s idea? Bring everyone together to heal their neighborhoods by growing food as a community.
“When the little boy was shot, I had never planted anything. I was not a farmer, so with this vision of growing food to build community, maybe have an impact on gang violence, and bring urban farming to the city, I realized I better become a farmer,” he says.
Eastern Wyoming is cattle country, a place where both traditional and grass fed beef ranches punctuate a landscape of rolling hills and sweeping plains all just a truck or horse ride away from the legendary Platte River. If you’ve never had a steak from a cow that’s spent its life absentmindedly meandering the wide open ranges and drinking the fresh clean water of Wyoming, then you’ve never had a good steak.
Thousands of Wyoming cattle make their way to South Dakota, Nebraska and across the country every year mostly due to a lack of slaughtering plants in The Equality State. This means ranchers are taking local meat and revenue out of state and local beef away from local consumers. Unfortunately, it is not economically viable for many small producers to pay for processing locally. The recently passed School Protein Enhancement Project Act 52 SF0123 hopes to ensure local Wyoming children have that local Wyoming meat in their school lunches while saving local school districts some much needed moolah.
On Friday, March 17, Seedstock hosted the ‘Future of Food – Community Development Field Trip’, which provided attendees an excursion into the diversity of innovative food and farming ventures that have emerged to increase food access, reduce food waste, create jobs, advocate for food equity, and improve health and nutrition across Southern California. The tour was the second in a series of Seedstock ‘Future of Food’ field trips that was recently launched to facilitate the exploration of food system innovations that are generating economic and community capital. Participants were treated to lectures and sessions from experts in the fields of community gardening, urban farming, and food justice.
The trip kicked off with a stop at Lavender Hill Urban, a key project of the Los Angeles Community Garden Council (LACGC), which manages 42 community gardens in Los Angeles County. Comprised of four and half acres of land, Lavender Hill Farm is located alongside the 110 freeway near Chinatown in Los Angeles, directly behind the Solano Canyon Community Garden. It was launched to provide meaningful work for ex-cons, former addicts, and at-risk teenagers.
To Grow Community and Jobs of the Future, Suburbanite Launches Vertical Farming Enterprise in Detroit
BY TRISH POPOVITCH
After spending time with street children in Brazil as part of a missionary trip, Jeff Adams, founder of Detroit, …
At the root of Louisville, Kentucky’s ongoing and successful local food system implementation, which has generated considerable community and economic capital, is data.
A principal objective of Mayor Greg Fischer’s Six-Year Strategic Plan outlined in 2012-2013 to create new jobs and stimulate the economic development, is to develop ways to promote the city’s local food economy. Toward this end, three studies were conducted by the Local Food Economy Work Group, made up of elected officials from six counties and two cities, to gauge the needs of farmers and consumers pertaining to demand for local foods.
One of the studies showed that of Louisville’s $2 billion in food purchases a year, only $300,000 was going toward local food, and consumers and commercial buyers wanted to at least double that amount if opportunities were available. Another study highlighted the desire of local farmers to reach larger markets.