Friday, April 11, 2014

Food Is the Entry Point to a Strong Regional Economy

Food production in urban centres may well be the place to begin developing strong local economies. To begin with everyone has to eat and most of us want to do so on a regular basis. This is a common ground that can be used to bring people together to discuss how they can work together to meet their food needs from main courses to condiments.

Agriculture is a major industry and moving food from the field to the kitchen is a huge enterprise. It is possible to reduce the distance traveled, improve the quality and freshness of the product and reduce our use of fossil fuels to do so.

Meat and diary producers would be located on farm land that is near to the community and may even provide the opportunity for consumers to enjoy an outing while going out to the farm to purchase the goods.

Cheese makers could be located near to the milk producers and have an on site sale room that could include a plant tour and some product samples. This combines food production with tourism and opens the door for local food tourism enterprises.

In town and village there could be urban agricultural sites that produce all the fruit, vegetable and herb needs.

This also paves the way for local businesses to make herbal vinegars and teas for example.

Growers and producers could participate in a local farmers market which would include regional crafters and artists.

Growers could also sell from their farm site direct or through a cooperative food buying program.

Environmental Restoration:

Most municipalities have areas that have become run down or litter attractors. They are also likely to have abandoned industrial sites such as factories or gas stations which are known as brownfields.

The restoration of these brownfields can not only improve the visual appeal of the municipality but can be an economic activity.

Housing is one use, affordable, accessible and environmentally sound housing is one project. Urban gardens are another.

Green spaces bring tranquility and can cause visitors to slow down and look around; they might even park the car and take a stroll down that tree-lined avenue.

 The first step  towards growing a strong regional economy  is to look at the money you spend on shopping as an investment when you invest it locally you help build your community when you spend it in a shop that is owned by a corporation far from your home, you are sending that money away.

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