Several of us are members of Slow Foods in Charlotte and the Carolina Farm Steward Association. But not enough.
Slow foods is about many things, but the eating of local, sustainable foods has to be at the top of the list. We all love our favorite chefs and our favorite farmers at the market. But that love isn't going to solve the larger problems of our dysfunctional food system.
That dysfunction is caused by several factors, of course. The dismal economic model of creating sustainable food. The hostile regulatory and legal web we've allowed our representatives to weave. The lack of education of the food consumer.
CFSA is working on all of these problems and more! On a limited budget and against many odds.
We will be working on all kinds of fun in the coming months....on-farm dinners, farm tours, and a bar-b-que.
I saw an excellent post from Geny here earlier but can't find it now. Anyway, I was mistaken when I said there was not a CFSA chapter in Charlotte until now. I personally didn't realize that one existed--no meetings or bylaws, etc.
But it has been pointed out to me that one did exist. And I knew that there are several people in the Charlotte area who have done some really amazing work, particularly in fundraising, to support the CFSA. I certainly don't want to take anything away from their efforts!
Actually, picking up on Rich's point, we do have a CFSA chapter here. I need to pay my dues for this year, in fact - hard, since the website is down. I had to miss the yearly gathering in Durham in 07. Too bad, it is one of my favorite annual events.
Durham was great! In fact, that is another thing CFSA might do for the average slow foodie locavore here in Charlotte....give a glimpse at the conference of how some of that sustainable agriculture works in practice, as well as gain insight into the process from the farmer's perspective. Join the club, go to the meetin'! Maybe we should put together enough folks from Charlotte this year to justify chartering a bus!
I consider myself a backyard farmer...meaning that rather than having a big garden I like to think of it as a very small farm. Mostly because I like to emulate the practices I find at conferences like the CFSA annual meeting, rather than what I find in the pages of Carolina Gardener. Going to events like Durham and the SSAWG conference in Louisville have been the driving transformative factor in my journey from a guy who was once caught watering plastic plants (I didn't know the difference, then) to a local-sustainable-food-systems-farmer-wannabe kind of guy. So it's pretty powerful stuff.
That's a good idea - and a worthy event is coming up, the CFSA-cosponsored Growers School in Blue Rock, near Hendersonville.
I know what you mean about Carolina Gardener, but I still subscribe and like them as at least some kind of local voice. Barbara Pleasant, the former Organic Gardening Zone 7 correspondent and a wonderful garden writer, sometimes writes for them, often about food growing. We need to convert our fellow gardeners, and we need to know what the good ones are thinking.