Lee Egerstrom of Minnesota 2020 talked to us on March 15 about bringing food from farms to you.
A bowl of cereal is no longer a simple morning meal. It has become an exercise in nutrition science, understanding food subsidies, and a primer for understanding the international grain exchange. Many of the dollars spent on our modern food system go towards assistance programs and money marked for research is awarded to plant and animal health threats and bulk commodity food production. Overall, people are becoming less connected to local sources of food production. This includes direct relations to production (A century ago, 70 percent of Americans were connected to farms, now it’s just 1 percent.), having limited access to foods, and not providing nutritious options through our institutions.
Some restaurants market themselves as only serving locally produced food and colleges such as Macalester and St. Thomas have made great efforts to source ingredients from local farms for their cafeterias. Despite both healthy and economical benefits, their still remains many challenges for this to happen on a wider scale. While it is a step towards being more sustainable, it’s possible that local crops have a larger carbon footprint than something produced and shipped to us from Asia. This leaves us trying to weigh and balance what benefits and harms different food systems provide.
As with any difficult issue, we’ll have to personally change as well as our institutions. Below is a video from Minnesota 2020 about bringing farms to schools.