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September’s Local Food Meetup Highlights 2017

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We’re back! We merged our August meetup into the #LocavoreForsyth Potluck, so didn’t have a conversation as usual to report last month, but we’re back for September. Here’s what we captured this month:

  1. Michael Banner, a long-time farmer and graduate of the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Forsyth County Center Urban Farm School is working on some land access options for growing and selling local produce. Both Cooperative Extension and the Forsyth Community Food Consortium are working on land access options as well, so there’s definitely a good conversation brewing. A new transplant to #wsnc has previously worked with the Athens Land Trust in Athens, GA (they work directly with community land access opportunities) and she passed along a few resources that could be useful: How to Start a Community Land Trust and other resources from the Community Land Trusts – National CLT Network (http://cltnetwork.org/tools/); technical information and academic research related to community land trusts (http://cltnetwork.org/topics/community-land-trusts/); how to start a community land trust from Grounded Solutions Network (http://groundedsolutions.org/start-upclthub/); a working land trust model based in Detroit, the Storehouse of Hope (http://www.thestorehouseofhope.org/); and the Black Family Land Trust based in Raleigh, NC (http://www.bflt.org/).
  2. Wait, what is a Community Land Trust? A community land trust (CLT) is a nonprofit organization—governed by a board of CLT residents, community residents and public representatives—that provides lasting community assets and permanently affordable housing opportunities for families and communities. CLTs develop rural and urban agriculture projects, commercial spaces to serve local communities, affordable rental and cooperative housing projects, and conserve land or urban green spaces. However, the heart of their work is the creation homes that remain permanently affordable, providing successful homeownership opportunities for generations of lower income families. http://cltnetwork.org/faq/
  3. We discussed the North Carolina-based Farmer 2 Farmer Coalition – a network of farmers and other economic stakeholders working across the state. They gather periodically to share strategies and other resources, and we may work on hosting a gathering in Winston-Salem.
  4. There was a question about the impact of urban farming thus far on #hunger specifically in Winston-Salem. It’s still too early to say in that urban farming is still new to Winston-Salem, the data pertaining specifically to urban farmers isn’t actively being collected yet, and there are other infrastructural roadblocks that need to be addressed (see: land access above). While there have been 22 Urban Farm School graduates since the program’s inception, we need to know what issues exist in terms of land access, market access, small business resources, etc. so the strategizing and development continues.
  5. We discussed the opportunity for phone app development that could be a service for making connections across the local/regional food system, both in terms of connecting buyers and sellers and in terms of other food system stakeholders that want to network. (I have a few more ideas on this, so if you want to chat development, toss me an email: marcus@forsythlocalfood.org).
  6. Tembila Covington, who has been coordinating the Urban Farm School at Cooperative Extension, is also finishing up the first Urban Landscaping class right now and has two additional courses set to start in 2018: #hydroponics and #value-added food processing. Courses come with both technical skills as well as small business assistance. Keep an eye here and Urban Agriculture, Forsyth County NC CES for more info. The Urban Landscaping graduation will be October 4th from 9-12pm at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Forsyth County Center.
  7. For local producers: Village Produce and Country Store is looking for local produce to sell to keep their shelves stocked. Get in touch with them if interested.

Forsyth Food Meetups occur the 2nd Tuesday of every month from 1-2pm. We’ll post the location in advance so keep an eye out at Forsyth Community Food Consortium (www.facebook.com/forsythfood).

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