Over the last several weeks I have read numerous reports about the lack of food in America. I have an ever more clear understanding that there is no food shortage.  The problem is the consolidation of the food system and its ownership by corporations, along with the emphasis on commodity products such as corn and soy.

In rural America, we have great opportunities being presented to us as we unmask the pros and cons of the American food system.

Understand health issues at meat packing plants that have forced closures serve to show us that the health of a nation is everyone’s responsibility and that we all benefit.

Now is the time for town governments to support local food growers and processors at an unprecedented level. This is an opportunity for towns to develop programs that encourage and support local farmers and fishers to grow and supply community food. Such things as trading tax or utility breaks for specified amounts of food grown for those who have food insecurity. Town sponsored gleaning, food growing and processing.

Why invest in small farming and fishing processes? Because the evidence is available to show that locally supported food growers are more resilient in finding alternative markets outside of institutions and restaurants. They are better able to communicate their needs directly with food participants and in return better able to identify and respond to community needs.

Town advocacy positions that serve to know who needs food in a community, how to best distribute food, access funding, and be alert to external threats to the ability of small farms to thrive and compete with outside entities.

Food banks should buy CSA’s for their customers, rather than depending on what is left over at harvest.

Community sponsored programs teaching gardening, baking and storing that pay the teachers in recognition that these things require skill.

This is a time of opportunity to investment in building a truly sustainable, local food network focused on the freedom to have personal control in addressing food insecurity and where eating is not only a personal act, but also a community act.

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