Monday, March 20, 2006

What does local taste like?

Apple-cherry pie from Friske Orchards, Stone House Bread, Higher Grounds Coffee, By the Light of Day Tea, and Oryana organic vegis. At least that's what they were serving at the Taste the Local Difference event last night.

The gathering was an opportunity for local folks to talk about the future of food in the region, and included a great mix of farmers, restaurateurs, value-added producers, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and folks who are generally interested in how food gets from the ground to the table.

Bill Palladino led an intense process with the Implications Wheel, whereby a roomful of 100 or so delved into the implications of any number of possibilities for the future of how farmers and consumers will interact in Northwest Lower Michigan. We started with a basic assumption--that an entity will come into being that will act as an intermediary between farmers and consumers--and investigated each possible implication of that actual occurrence.

The Taste the Local Difference campaign is headed up by the Michigan Land Use Institute, who have put a lot of work into branding local foods. They hope to put local food in the bellies of school children and prisoners alike, and aim to increase local food consumption so that farmers and farm land remains in Northern Michigan, less fuel is needed to ship foods, the area may be more self-reliant, and folks can eat healthy.

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