Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good food for thought

The season is turning. The harvest is in. It is time to give thanks. It is no coincidence that we celebrate our gratitude with a feast of food. Food is what brings us together. Food is the ever-present reminder of our connection with the abundance and mystery of nature. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have been given a feast of knowledge and inspiration from a variety of local gardens in the last week.

The ERC set the table by initiating a discussion group about sustainable food systems, "Menu for the Future." Community Rising served an appetizer event at the Community Library, "The True Cost of Food," that introduced local producers and generated a discussion about the hidden price of factory agriculture. The Sawtooth Botanical Garden served up Rosalind Creasy, inventor of the term "Edible Garden," for a lecture and series of cooking events based on her books. Sun Valley Center for the Arts followed with a main course of Michael Pollan. Mr. Pollan helped us understand that by eating local, eating less and eating whole foods, we each are voting with our fork to reduce energy consumption, lower carbon footprint, increase health and create community. The dessert was a real feast of local foods and community at the nextStage Theatre, put on by Idaho's Bounty, a Web-based food co-op that connects local producers with markets in Blaine County and Boise. Over 200 people gathered around great food and wine supplied by local chefs and restaurants.

Last week's offerings should fuel our will to build a robust and economically sound foodshed that brings more resilience, healthier food and a more interdependent community year-round. We don't know what the future will bring, but we do know we will need to eat.

Dale Bates


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