Local Processing

The first casualty in the centralization of any food system is local processing. Local dairies left without bottling plants. Poultry producers forced to travel several hours to the nearest slaughterhouse. Wheat growers first losing seed-cleaning operations, then grain mills. Rebuilding local production capacity means nothing when there’s no way to process things after they’ve grown. Stories like these repeat across the country, but there is a new hope emerging.

In Eugene, Oregon, Hummingbird Wholesalers, co-owners Julie and Charlie Tilt support local farmers by providing distribution of their organic crops. They’re micro-distributors.

Amanda Oborne, too, knows the about power of regional food hubs and the key role they’ll play in fixing America’s food system. The company where she works, EcoTrust, has helped farmers find new markets.

Back in Eugene, Brian Keogh of Organically Grown Company knows about the power of cooperative distribution. As lead purchaser, he connects growers to consumers.

These folks are all about relocalization. The work they do for their community happens within their community. Naturally. Italian pasta maker Franco Pedrini practices a similar tenet, and he’s passed that knowledge onto his sons. As Perennial Plate reveals, though they’ve explored the world, Franco’s sons realized they’d be most happy continuing the family tradition of making delicious, nutritious pasta locally.

We recommend trying local, pasture-raised chicken when trying out Chef Ann Cooper’s delicious recipe for this week.

This week's terms

Cooperative Distribution

A coordinated supply and distrubtion system that enables farms to thrive by allowing them to focus on growing quality produce instead of the selling, marketing, and delivery of their product.

Mobile Slaughterhouse

A mobile vehicle, usually a tractor trailer, that travels to a farm or ranch to slaughter livestock on site under the supervision of a USDA inspector. Instead of trucking livestock hundreds of miles, mobile slaughterhouses allow meat to stay local.  Of equal importance, they encourage humane treatment of the animals by reducing or eliminating the stress the animals might feel during transport to a slaughterhouse.

Regional Food Hub

Regional food hubs support local farmers by providing distribution for their products, like, for example, organic crops. They also play a critical role in transitioning conventional growers towards organic agriculture by providing access to a growing base of organic consumers.

Relocalize

The act of revitalizing a community by favoring local food, goods, and people over items produced elsewhere.

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