Our current, industrialized agriculture system threatens the quality of our water, soil, and air - all of which MCE has worked to protect for over 45 years - and has adverse impacts on the health of Missouri residents. We need to make healthy food available within St. Louis communities. A more localized food system will increase food accountability and reduce the risk of contamination from chemical properties while keeping money and jobs in the St. Louis area.
Check out our local foodshed interactive map!
Source of Images: Why GoFarm?, Go Farm, http://www.gofarmcoop.org/whygofarm/; Why Localized Food?, Go Farm, http://www.gofarmcoop.org/why-localized-food.
As an alternative to harmful industrialized food, MCE strives to support sustainable food systems in every step of the process. We recognize that there are many important ways to engage with local food movements, and your involvement is always welcome! Here are some examples of initiatives that we support.
Source: What is a sustainable local food system?, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/livability/local-food/about. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning website above includes an interactive version of this food system diagram, including a brief discussion of each step in the food system chain.
Promote conservation practices and environmental stewardship in local farms and community gardens
Partake in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.
- Check out Feast Magazine's Your Complete Guide to St. Louis-Area CSAs.
- Support stores and restaurants that source local produce.
- Food hubs for local farmers to aggregate produce to meet demand
- Community-owned processing facilities
- Wisconsin's Fifth Season Cooperative is an example of a member-owned processing facility. Learn more from the cooperative's Building a Regional Food System infographic.
- Facilitate farm-to-school and farm-to-institution incentive programs to connect local farmers to larger markets
- Connect social service agencies and community development organizations with youth gardens and work study programs for food production and preparation
- Increase number of and support for local food stores and restaurants
- Support farmer’s markets in the Foodshed
- Set up gardens and food distribution programs with local food pantries and homeless shelters
- Expand acceptance SNAP and WIC benefits in healthy, local food outlets to incentivize use of such benefits on fresh, local products
- Check out St. Louis Magazine's St. Louis Farm-to-Table Essentials for a thorough list of places to access local food!
- Raise awareness of local farm-to-buyer programs and online directories to increase the connect producers with more markets
- Promote nutrition education, cooking demonstration events, cook-off events, etc. at convenient community locations that incorporate healthy, local ingredients and culturally relevant food
- Incorporate vegetable gardening and healthy eating education in school curriculums to emphasize the importance of buying local and maintaining environmental stewardship
- Increase food access in high food insecurity areas by coordinating the use of food products that grocery stores and restaurants would typically throw away because of use or sell by dates with key community food chain suppliers.
- Check out a great interactive story book on food waste.
- Learn more about the problem of food waste in America and ways to reduce food waste across every link in the food system chain by reading Natural Resource Defense Council Dana Gunder's report: Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill (2012).
University of Missouri Extension has also created an excellent document outlining various local food resources across the state. Most of MCE's food and farm information is centered around known efforts in Saint Louis, but we will continue to build up our resources reflecting local food efforts across the state.