TOP STORY, July 7, 2015
Reps hopeful for extension of Mid-Shore Food System
By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
The one-year agreement that has funded the early planning for the creation of a food production and distribution system across the five counties of the Mid-Shore expired on June 30 but reportedly all systems are go for at least another year.
The pact, which would underwrite the introduction of the so-called Mid-Shore Food System to key elements of the community and get something “down on paper,” so to speak, was between Chesapeake College and the Town Creek Foundation of St. Michaels.
Gregory S. Farley, director of the Center for Leadership in Environmental Education at Chesapeake College, was charged with administering a foundation grant to the college for the project .
He had been cautious, he said, and set a little aside.
“Not much,” he added, “but enough to get us through the summer.”
Then come fall, Farley said he was “reasonably certain” Town Creek would renew its commitment to the project.
Town Creek has been attracted by the “regional focus” of the proposed food system and remains “very, very interested,” Farley said.
Neoma Rohman of Easton, the de facto leader of the effort to bring the food system to reality, has chaired two meetings both at the college, to inform — and alert — those in the five-county community who could be involved in the project.
“We need your help prioritizing, implementing, and tracking actions,” she told them early on.
“To do that, we’re proposing the formation of a Mid-Shore Food System Council: A group that will help identify the best opportunities, figure out how to address them, and then — here’s the important bit — take necessary action. We need a real diversity of voices on this Council: farmers, “foodies,” hunger advocates, transportation experts, conservationists, educators, nurses ... and eaters. We need you all.”
At the second of the two meetings held June 23, the formation of a council was approved.
“Now comes the hard part,” Rohman commented.
What is a food system?
Rohman envisions it “is a food system that speaks with a single voice: a voice that helps the healthy, fresh food we grow here on the Delmarva get to local consumers of all kinds, in more locations; a voice that helps farmers get the right prices for their products; a voice that helps people get the right nutrition from their food, whether they’re at home, in a restaurant, in school, or in the hospital. “Ultimately, this is a voice that will help our communities become more self-reliant, and less susceptible to disturbance from the rest of the world.
“We are interested in building connections between producers and consumers, identifying roadblocks to that process, and finding ways to work together, as a community, to overcome those challenges.”