Veep’s Viewpoint – 7/19/2010

This week’s “Veep’s Viewpoint” is  about food.

Today. the NPR program” Here and Now” had the author of The Town Food Saved, Ben Hewitt, on to discuss his book. The book is about a town in Vermont that has been “saved” economically by the local food movement.  Robin Young, the show’s host, asked some interesting questions of Mr Hewitt, including one about the sustainability of local food. Mr Hewitt gives an interesting response to the question that is worth listening to. The entire interview is good. “Hear and Now” has an excerpt from the book on their website.

There was also an interview on “Fresh Air” about fish farming and the book, Four Fish. Fish used to be caught in the wild, but now two frequently eaten fish, salmon and sea bass, are almost wholly fished from farms. According to the book’s author, Paul Greenberg, there are almost no wild Atlantic salmon in the ocean. Mr Greenberg talks about how farmed fish are held captive. The fish farms then harm the native populations due to outbreaks of diseases in the close quarters. The author also discusses how the oil spill is going to affect available fish in the coming years.

Madison is a city interested in local food. In addition to a number of farmers’ markets, including a huge one on the Square, there is also organizations like the Underground Food Collective (headed by La Follette student Jonny Hunter) and weekly food giveaways by local farming students through F.H. King (which LSSA President, Erika Jones, is a director).

There are events dedicated to local food, like Bike the Barns in September, which is a 60 mile bike ride to local farms. And just yesterday, I found a website from the Madison-based nonprofit – Resources, Education, Action and Policy on Food (REAP) – that gives a great deal of information about local food in Wisconsin. REAP is hosting a potluck in August that is probably worth checking out. Their website also has a list of restaurant partners that are dedicated to using local food.

I find it interesting the food and agriculture are growth industries in a time of economic recession, as local food is generally expensive. A number of articles I have read on the topic mention that people are looking for work that is tangible in this time of uncertainty and creating food, through growing or cooking, is a way to do that.

Sylvia Fredericks is LSSA VP and is now very hungry.

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About Sylvia Fredericks

Second-Year MPA student at the La Follette School for Public Affairs (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
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