Food Security in Sonoma County, how to support farmers

Note: this is an update from farmer and sustainable ag teacher Wendy Krupnick. Go Local points out 96% of our food is imported. Please support better food security in the region. 

I wanted to follow up with more info about the native plant sale and what’s going on with local food farmers.

Native Plant Society spring plant sale, in conjunction with the Laguna Foundation and Eco-Friendly Garden tour, (virtual this year), will be posted at 

https://milobaker.cnps.org/

on May 2. Orders will be made on-line with volunteers delivering to homes and there may be 1 or 2 pick-up sites; will continue until sold out. Fall plant sale will be Oct. 10 at the Laguna Foundation.

And I’m afraid I painted too rosy a picture of the current crisis response by our local food system advocates and agricultural sector. Especially many food farmers and dairies have been hit very hard.  I’ve put together a collage of comments and links below. There is no denying agriculture and our food system’s impact on our environment and our food choices go a very long way in determining whether that impact is beneficial or destructive.

We’re hearing from our local agricultural partners that this is a very difficult time for them. It’s so important to support our family farmers and ranchers who support the health of the land. Some simple things you can do are to attend local farmers’ markets (if it’s permitted and safe for you to do so), buy directly from local producers (many are delivering their products direct to consumer), and buy local cheeses and meats at the supermarket. Let’s keep our special foodshed thriving!

Please see: https://www.farmtrails.org/shelter-in-place-food-resources/

The closure of restaurants, schools and other commercial purchasers of food is a heavy financial blow to everyone in the system. Farmers are plowing up fields of lettuce and other fresh produce for a lack of workers to harvest them and customers to buy what they harvest. Dairy farmers still must milk their cows, but many are dumping what they produce due to sharply reduced demand not only for fluid milk but cheese and other dairy products too.

Not all dairy products are equal! Our local dairies are among the best for the environment in the country. They capture carbon in their pastures and Straus has a methane capture facility that powers part of their operation. They are suffering significant losses now so please buy local dairy products!

This said, there is great work being done to get food to those who desperately need it.

See what the Emergency Food Response Coalition is doing: https://sonomacofsa.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/emergency-food-response-coalition-2020-event-notes-march-23-2020/

And about food recovery including donations, gleaning, and outlets:  https://ucanr.edu/sites/SCRFC/

Thank you all for your great work and engagement! We are lucky to be in Sonoma County in so many ways.

Best wishes, Wendy