The annual Georgia Organics conference was held this past weekend, over in Columbus, GA. Its generally one of my favorite events of the year, and the Saturday night “Farmers’ Feast” is always the best meal I have all year, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it over there this time. It’s been nice seeing all the updates and photos posted to social media, though, and I’m hopeful next year I’ll be able to attend again.
Two weeks ago at pickups, we had some representatives from the campus organization “Real Food UGA” who are working hard to get more locally-sourced food available in the university’s many kitchens. I’ve asked them to write a few words about their important project to share with you, and here they are:
In 2009, a couple of UGA students learned about a campaign taking place on college campuses across the country called the Real Food Challenge. By harnessing the multi-million dollars of purchasing power that colleges and universities hold, the food industry could finally see positive change. The RFC classifies ‘real food’ as meeting at least one of the following criteria: fair, local, sustainable, ecologically sound, or humane. Since then, students at UGA have been working to get the President to sign a commitment stating that 20% of our food will meet a higher standard by the year 2020. And, as we have entered the 6th year of this campaign, we know that now is the time that real change can actually be made.
What exactly does this “work” look like? Examining, researching, and tracking all the food purchases UGA makes, educating students about the global impact of the food economy, meeting with faculty and administration, and uniting with other campus organizations and Real Food campaigns across the country. But, now we are asking for the help of our community. If issues such as workers’ rights, farmers’ livelihoods, community health, or animal treatment matter to you, we ask you to do one thing: sign our petition. The more names we have, the more our administration will know that this is something we need, and something we need now. When you’ve signed it, pass it along. If you wish to raise your voice alongside us, please check out our website or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to give you more information.
Member farm Brad River Pastures is hosting their annual spring educational tour on their Elberton Farm on April 16th. Participants will learn about the role of heritage livestock on small sustainable farms, including managed rotational grazing of rare Gulf Coast Native Sheep and rare American Guinea Hogs. Participants must pre-register and pre-pay to attend and provide contact information. The cost is $10 for adults and children over 13 ($5 for Broad Rivers CSA Members!). $3 supervised children, and ages 3-12 Children under 3 years are free. To sign up, or for more info, contact Cathy Payne at email@example.com.
Finally, this week Shalley Carrell from Carrell Farms will be at our “Meet the Grower” table at order pickups. They were popular last time they took the table, teaching us about their 100% pastured water buffalo, lamb, and alpaca farm.
Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!
Other Area Farmers Markets
The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The Comer Farmers’ Market is continuing, weather permitting, on Saturday mornings from 10am to noon. Check www.facebook.com/comerfm on Friday evening for their plans. The other area markets are also all closed for the season, I believe. If you know of any winter markets operating, please let me know. And they might all be closed, but we’ll be here all year round!
All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!