Orange County Food Council Interest Meeting – Flip-chart Activity Summary

Here is a summary of what meeting participants wrote on post-it notes for the following questions related to the food system in Orange County:

  1. What are our local food system assets in Orange County?
  • Many small/local produce farmer x 4
  • Grass-fed meat, egg, and dairy farms
  • Handcrafted artisanal farms
  • Plant program at Breeze farm (farm incubator) x 2
  • Piedmont Food & Agriculture Processing Center
  • Farmers markets x 4
  • Cooperative extension
  • Community gardens
  • County economic development money
  • University students and researchers
  • TABLE
  • Weaver Street Marker coop
  • Farmer FoodShare/POP x 2
  • PORCH (fresh food to low income families)
  • Rural buffer x 2
  • Ag designations
  • Transplanting Traditions Community Farm
  • Supportive farming community/teaching of new farmers by established farmers
  • Restaurants
  • Great climate for farming
  • Lots of experts and diversity

 

  1. What are the barriers to a healthy food system for all in Orange County?
  • Lack of nutrition education x4
  • Cooking skills
  • How to prepare healthy food, especially inexpensively
  • Cost x6
  • Labor, food costs
  • Economics drive consumer buying choices
  • affordability
  • Equipment needs for schools to process local produce
  • Access x2
  • Including low income urban population
  • Tax policy on farms with less than 5 acres in production
  • Outdated policies
  • Lack of education
  • Income
  • Transportation x2
  • Convenience foods x2
  • Media favors these
  • Too much advertising for junk food and not enough for healthy food
  • Creating awareness broadly
  • If they taste good, food made healthily and sourced locally, not processed, it can breach the wall of convenience vs. cost
  • Poverty—jobs and wages
  • Time—for small farms to multiply
  • Lack of groceries in town—food deserts
  • Market demand x2
  • Market local produce better as they appear to be in demand/interest
  • Grocery store chains sell few produce from local farmers
  • Need to bring new customers to our farmers markets to then local outlets. We have saturated the current customer base and need to expand it.
  • Quality/capable farmers that can’t make a living
  • Promoting the farmer’s markets more effectively—when I mention Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market people think I’m talking about Carrboro
  1. What would you most like to see addressed to improve the food system in Orange County?
  • Field gleaning to benefit food pantries (non-profits)
  • Education on preparing healthy, inexpensive, quick-n-easy food x3
  • esp. seasonal, local food and for all socioeconomic levels
  • Education for all socioeconomic levels on how to find, prepare, store/preserve fresh seasonal/local food x2
  • Education about food and our local food system to low-income or local school system x2
  • Accessible, unbiased, useful education about our abundant resources
  • An understanding by consumers and some farmers regarding quality of food
  • Nutrition education for consumers x 2
  • Increased accountability of local, national, international farmers
  • Processing, aggregation, distribution
  • Work out the pitfalls and sell to the university ($12 million per year going out now)
  • Systemic change with university, hospital, school system to reduce food waste and provide healthier food options
  • More farm-to-school/hospital/camps/etc.
  • Long-term planning for local food production and access in the face of a changing climate
  • More community gardens with monetary support from towns and county
  • Sharing stories about the benefits of healthy eating, the positive impact of local foods on the economy, etc.
  1. What are some solutions to improve the food system in Orange County?
  • Allocate economic development money towards food production sector
  • Incentives for institutional purchasers to buy local
  • More advertising for healthy food
  • More information, teaching how to prepare healthy, inexpensive food
  • Education in schools/homes by us
  • Networking, multi-stakeholder discussions
  • Greater collaboration among non-profits, governments, universities, and for-profits
  • Soda tax
  • Transparent allocation locally of federal and state funding
  • Institutional buying of local organic produce—with no middlemen
  • Address poverty
  • More community gardens
  • Getting parents to request more local food from their schools
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