We can get locally-grown organic food to more people when more supermarkets and wholesalers get on board with the food movement. Can that really happen?
A personal story. My ten year old refuses to eat carrots from the supermarket, organic or otherwise. Why? He's been spoiled by the crisp, flavorful carrots from the farmers market. Most supermarket carrots, grown thousands of miles away, just have no flavor and the texture ain't great either. A ten year old can figure this out.
So what to do? Sure, I could only buy carrots from the farmers market; I'd like to. But will that really happen? No.
So I began to ask: why can't I get local, in-season, great-tasting organic carrots in the grocery store? For that matter, why can't supermarkets supply me with the countless other produce items that I routinely find at the farmers market? Yes, even in winter. And don't get me started on eggs and meat! Just like California and Florida, we have sun, rain and soil. And good farmers and ranchers. What gives?
This project is an attempt to understand the largest players in the North Carolina food distribution system. This includes the supermarkets who sell billions of dollars worth of food each year and the wholesalers who sell to our local restaurants, schools and institutions. This has been our quest: Are the big players using best practices to support local organic foods? Can they commit resources to be a part of the local food solution? What are they up to?
To discover what we've learned so far and what we specifically want to see happen, check out our new report (link above) and the rest of the website. Come back periodically as we intend to provide monthly updates on our project. We may even start a blog or start tweating!
-- Fred Broadwell, Project Manager, Local Organic Y'All, December 2016