Tag Archives: local food

The Future of Farming: Polyface Farms

Great video of organic large scale farming in tune with nature and adding to the local economy.

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Getting A L.I.F.E.

Peak oil is not just a driving our butts around crisis – its more important than that.

Peak oil is a food crisis.

Fortunately, we have had people working without much general recognition for many many years to help us be prepared for this moment.

The Kentucky Community Farm Alliance is one such group.  check out thier web site:  http://www.communityfarmalliance.org/index.htm (Thanks Becca for the tip!)

Here is a sample of thier L.I.F.E. – local innovative food economies – philosophy:

“One way to bring together urban and rural people, to create economic and social empowerment, to preserve and enhance our farms and communities, lies in creating what Community Farm Alliance calls LIFE – local innovative food economies. LIFE has the power to enhance Kentucky’s fiscal and cultural vitality. A local food system allows Kentuckians to benefit by consuming most of their food from local farms, Kentucky farmers to make a living from their land and opens the door for a new generation of farmers to prosper.

What is LIFE?

The basic idea is to create a system where people grow and eat food closer to home. Jennifer Wilkins of Cornell University provides a more scholarly definition, stating that they are systems in which food production, processing, distribution, and consumption are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, social, and nutritional health of a particular geographic location. We envision LIFE to include not just food, but also fiber, and other products such as soap, flowers, landscaping plants, agri-tourism, and more.

What are the Benefits of L.I.F.E.?

Locally innovative food economies are inherently more sustainable than an exclusive reliance on global food systems. LIFE supports more small and mid-sized, often low-input, family-owned farms. A greater percentage of the food dollar stays within the community, increasing local wealth through the multiplier effect. Transportation costs and related environmental consequences are likely reduced. In general, locally grown food is fresher and more nutritious than food shipped from long distances. By their decentralization and regional focus, these systems are more responsive to local needs. Finally, with LIFE customers and farmers can come to know one another, creating mutually supportive relationships, and raising citizens’ awareness of the many dimensions of their food choices.

What is the Potential for L.I.F.E.?

Local production and marketing keep a greater percentage of the food dollar within the community and increase regional wealth through the “multiplier effect.” As a result, 10 new farm jobs in Kentucky would generate three additional jobs in the farm service sector of the local economy, and 10 new local processing jobs would generate six additional jobs in the community. Every $1,000 increase in net farm income would generate an estimated $930 of income in the community, creating a total of $1930 of new wealth. 2004 estimates found that if Kentucky were to raise its per-farm average direct marketing sales to the national average, it would generate an additional farm-level income of $7.9 million and have an estimated statewide economic impact of $15.8 million.”


Filed under Economy, Farming Revolution

Local Food: How long will creating a local food system take?

Last time we learned that local food expert and Seedleaf Education Director Becca Self believed that it is indeed possible to feed our entire 300,000 plus population from entirely within the confines of Fayette County.   This is very encouraging news. It offers the possibility that we can make it through the transition times where we live. 

The flip-side to that question, however, is “how long would it take us to do it?” 

Remember, Toyota predicts that peak oil will be a full-blown reality in 2020 – ten years from now.  In that reality, “as the world’s demand exceeds the world’s supply, the cost of gasoline for cars, internal combustion engines, will be prohibitively expensive…” 

This is NOT just about us paying more to drive our asses around. 

 This is about our food supply.  Our entire food system is predicated on cheap fossil fuels. If those become “prohibitively expensive” then the way our food is produced becomes prohibitively expensive. We won’t be able to tolerate that.  We will have to change.

So I asked Becca, “If we can feed ourselves here, how long will it take us to create a local system?”  Here is her answer. Continue reading


Filed under Farming Revolution

Local Food: Can we feed ourselves from only Fayette County?

Peak oil is upon us.  An ever declining availability of oil is coupled with an ever increasing demand.  Supply down, demand up, prices rise.  Forever.

Oil price increases matters to us not just in how much it costs us to drive our cars around, but, more deeply, in how we will feed ourselves. Our entire food system rests solely on massive inputs of fossil fuels.  As the prices for those fuels rise, our food prices will rise as well.   We cannot afford – economically or socially – to spend ever more of our stagnant or dwindling incomes on food.

The only alternatives to our fossil fuel food system are organic and local.   That’s it.  There is no  technological rescue that will enable us to keep this system going.

One of our region’s largest employers, Toyota, is predicting that peak and decline in oil are ten years off.  Assuming for the sake of argument that that prediction is correct (although I don’t – the facts point strongly to a world oil peak in 2008), then we here in Lexington have 10 years to prepare a local food infrastructure.

Thankfully, we courageously resisted the “Growth is Good” bullshit spouted by many city “leaders” and have managed to retain broad swaths of some of the best soil on Earth.  (We did it in the guise of protecting the Thoroughbred Industry – but results are all that matters.)  Thankfully, we live in an area where it rains 48 inches a year.  Thankfully, we live in a city with one of the best agricultural colleges in the U.S.

So we have many advantages.  But something is still nagging at me:  Is it possible to feed 300,000 plus people from within the confines of Fayette County?

To answer that question, I turned to Becca Self, Director of Education for Seedleaf, a local non-profit dedicated to the mission of “nourishing the community.”

Here is her answer: Continue reading


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Local Food…photography


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Filed under Local Food...painting

Local Food…photography

Now it got “creative”  – I got tired of looking at apple mugshots….


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Local Food…photography

another apple….this is getting weird…..


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Filed under Local Food...painting

Local Food…painting

more backyard bounty captured in watercolor…and then an iphone….I swear the originals are nicer…maybe I need to scan them in…


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Filed under Local Food...painting