Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Local or Organic?

A morning workshop facilitated by Dave Rogers of NOFA-VT, Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds, and Helen Whybrow of Center for Whole Communities asked us the questions "what does localvore mean?" "Does it matter if we buy local or organic?" In an hour and a half, we came to no conclusions save for that we have many more questions: what does "local" mean in the context of "local" Lay's Potato Chips? How can the average supermarket consumer come to terms with the meaning of words like "local" if even a group of agrarian activists, entrepreneurs, and scholars cannot?

Perhaps, to summarize from our group's discussion, the next word (like Organic or Local - now that these are going the way of Sustainability in losing the essential qualities of their meaning) should encompass the sense of community and our relationship with food that many feel is embodied in the terroir implicit in the word "local."

This session brought together themes of community and the cultural identity of agriculture: farms as not just sites of production, but as culturally defined...a relationship between people, the land, and community.

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