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Food sustainability is highly complex — not just on a global and national level, but even in Humboldt County.
Luckily, we have the Humboldt Food Policy Council, which is constantly examining our local food system and working on various initiatives to make positive changes. The council recently held an educational meeting and teleconference in Eureka to explore The Food Commons and hear from its directors.
The Food Commons model is a new economic paradigm and whole system approach to regional food. It’s a network of physical, financial and organizational infrastructure that allows local and regional markets to operate efﬁciently, and small to mid-sized food enterprises to compete and thrive while being sustainable, fair and accountable. Plus the commons provides the opportunity to produce, access, secure and consume good and healthy foods.
Edie Jessup is an HFPC member, an “heirloom tomato” with Locally Delicious, and on the board for Food for People. She’s familiar with the concept.
“We could see a huge impact being able to aggregate and distribute local food locally,” she says. “It would make some new businesses, an economic boom but also a boon for our small farmers here in the area.”
Local Food distribution could also help with the county’s food deserts — geographic areas where residents access to affordable healthy food is limited or even non-existent due to the absence of grocery stores within a convenient traveling distance. Another contributing factor is when convenience stores or fast food are the only option.
“So finding ways where our local produce can actually get into the corner stores — you know Pepsi can deliver to the corner stores all over the county, but getting our local fruits and vegetables there is another issue.”
In this LoCO Video Report we talk more with Jessup about The Food Commons, health concerns surrounding food deserts, the idea of food trusts similar to land trusts, and how a regional food approach is also better for the environment.