Keep It Local: Good Fun for a Great Cause

Farmer's Market - Copyright Jill HendersonShow Me Oz

Whenever you buy locally produced goods and services from businesses and individuals, most of your hard-earned money stays at home where it works to build a stronger, more economically vital and self-sufficient community.  In fact, the most important aspect of a sustainable community starts with local food production.

For some people the idea of buying local is charming or quaint.  In reality, family farms have always been the lifeblood of the Ozarks region.  At one time this area was famous for its abundant dairy farms and hog producers.  Family farms such as these have very nearly been wiped out by the bigger-is-best corporate-food mentality of the 21st century and along with them, our regional sense of pride and independence.

These days, a resurgent back-to-the-land movement has spawned new interest in local goods and services and small independent producers.  Of course, in order to sustain a local economic and food system means purchasing those goods and services directly from the source.  The best way to do this is to buy from farmer’s markets, co-ops and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs and from those retail grocery stores that regularly stock locally produced food and other goods.

530692_469714796413353_939927130_nIf you are ready to support local food producers and small businesses in the Howell-Oregon area, then plan on attending The Oregon County Food Producers and Artisans Co-Op community event and fundraiser this Friday evening at 6 PM at the Community Worship Center in Alton, Missouri.  ACFPAC is working to sustain the local communities and economies of Oregon County, Missouri through the local sale and trade of the products, skills and knowledge of area residents.  The co-op’s goal is to garner new membership, serve existing members and create interest in this growing local movement.  The Friday night fundraiser is being held to raise money for the co-op’s new community center and market space, which will be opening on December 1, 2012.

The evening events will include free refreshments and a raffle for organic fertilizers and soil amendments.  Local author and naturalist, Jill Henderson (me), will talk about the importance of saving open-pollinated and heirloom garden seed with a free Seed Saving Workshop.  In addition, there will be a free screening of Seed Swap, an excellent new documentary from educator and heirloom seed enthusiast, Dr. Brian Campbell, showcasing his experiences setting up community seed swaps throughout the Arkansas-Missouri Ozarks.

When: Friday, November 9th, 6:00 PM
Where: Community Worship Center, Alton, MO
Directions: Downtown Alton area on the corner of Market and Vine.

Just to show you what an ardent fan I am of Dr. Campbell’s work, in January of 2011, Show Me Oz posted a three-part series written by Dr. Campbell entitled, Closest to Everlastin: Ozark Agricultural Biodiversity and Subsistence Traditions,  on his work as it relates to cultural anthropology – the study of a place, it’s people and their history – and seed saving, in particular.  Anyone interested in the Ozarks and heirloom seeds should read this series and familiarize themselves with Dr. Campbell’s work.

If you are ready to get involved in making our communities economically stronger and more self-sufficient, come down to Alton Friday night.  Lend your support, meet local food producers and artisans, and learn more about how a co-op works!

 Hope to see you there!

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