Conversations about food typically focus on the next meal. But at a recent meeting in Lacombe, the discussion had a much broader scope.
More than 30 people from the city and surrounding area gathered to talk about local food, and its importance.
Participants included producers, distributors and consumers, with the event organized by Growing Food Security in Alberta — an organization that promotes safe, nutritious, local food that’s produced in an environmentally sustainable manner.
One of the meeting hosts was Susan Crump, whose Lacombe-based online grocery store The Green Pantry sells local food.
She said the meeting attracted representatives from the city and Lacombe County, as well as from the Lacombe food bank, the city’s community gardens, the Good Food Box program, Lacombe Composite High School and Backyard Friends, among other organizations.
“Just a lot of people who are interested in local food, food in general, and making our food system a bit more equitable and local,” summed up Crump.
“We all knew each other, and we sort of knew what other people were doing, but we just thought that it was important to get together a little more formally and do a little bit of planning.”
That planning is focused on encouraging people to produce and consume local food, said Crump, with the resulting benefits multifaceted.
“Our belief is that local food in general is healthier for people, it’s fresher, and certainly it tends to have less preservatives and chemicals.”
It also results in less pollution, creates local employment, builds community and reduces consumers’ reliance on food that originates elsewhere, she continued.
A new group, called Field to Table Lacombe, resulted from the meeting. Its members plan to meet on a regular basis to formulate strategies for building and strengthening the local food system.
“I think the biggest objective and result that came from the conference was that we now have a group of people who can help each other and support each other, and are all going in the same direction,” said Crump.
She noted that Lacombe already seems to be a centre for “food activism,” with a wealth of local food produced in the area.
Field to Table Lacombe welcomes other people to join it.
Information about the group and its meetings can be obtained by contacting Crump at firstname.lastname@example.org.