Friday, March 30, 2012

What is the Great Local Foods Network?

Have you heard about "A Celebration of Great Local Foods"? What's this all about and who is "The Great Local Foods Network"?

Here are a few words from Anna Lampman, the president of the Great Local Foods Network:

What's the network all about?
"The Great Local Foods Network (also referred to as GLFN) is a group of people which have emerged from the networks and community associated with Regional Access and draws on the experience and creativity of our local partners.  GLFN is dedicated to bringing together and supporting local food artisans and entrepreneurs, and to the development of a robust and sustainable Finger Lakes food web.  We get our inspiration from the vision and passions of local food pioneer and my father Gary Redmond.  We strive to support new food-based businesses and celebrate the stewards and champions of our local food web through investment and education."

What is the network going to do?
"Our first project is to build what we have dubbed 'the Bakemobile.' This will be a singular, trailer able, community-built wood fired oven which will be used to educate and engage the community in the local foods movement through demonstration and creation of delicious bread, pizza, baked and roasted food highlighting the benefits of cooking from scratch.  The Bakemobile will provide a local foods outreach and connection to a range of audiences at many public and community events.  We are hoping to have this built by sometime in July and be able to utilize it before the end of the summer. One of our other projects that we know of already is to try and set up group health insurance for farmer's."

What does the future hold? 
"There are still many things being figured out but we have a great group of people working on this project and I think we will be able to accomplish a lot of good.  We have not formed the full board of directors as of yet but will be doing so very soon.  We plan on choosing people with a wide variety of knowledge and experience so that we can fully represent as many facets of the food system as possible. 
People's awareness to local products has grown substantially over the last couple years but it still has a far way to go.  We feel that education is critical in creating a strong local food system."

What's the inspiration behind the network?
"Gary Redmond founded Regional Access because of the need to connect farmer's with market, while Regional Access still plays this integral role the GLFN will take it a step further and be able to help farmer's with the development process and in any other way they should need. 

"We are focused on is leveraging the existing relationships and distribution channels created by Gary Redmond and the rest of the team at Regional Access over the last 22 years. Our goal at GLFN is to facilitate strengthening the connections that participants in the New York food economy need to be successful.  A good example is Gary's realization a long time ago about the life of a farmer as he experienced it: some years the crop was bad and you were in trouble regardless. And in the best year you could hope for, you still needed to get it to market, and you needed someone eager to buy it when it got there! That was the realization that started Regional Access, and it's that type of experience we hope GLFN will be able to share with the widest possible audience."

Thanks, Anna, for sharing your thoughts with Ithaca's Food Web!

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