Even in a prosperous community like ours, hunger and access to healthy food are pressing issues for some individuals and families. Solid waste disposal is another concern that has featured prominently in the news recently. Of course, there is a connection between solid waste and food security so we are exploring strategies that address both issues, including food recovery and support for beginning farmers and ranchers. My goals include eliminating useable food from the waste stream to both reduce Green House Gas emissions and reduce unnecessary waste of so much food.
Based on a 2014 Sonoma County Waste Management Agency characterization study, 45 tons of food went into our landfill; we can put it to more beneficial use feeding people and animals. We have great innovation happening here, but since the model is heavily dependent on non-profits, like Cropmobster, it is incumbent upon us to do what we can to support these non-profits that must build their infrastructure and capacity to handle more volume. Additionally, we need innovation and new ideas to build the scalability of our current model.
Based on feedback I’ve received, our community’s priorities include production of local food, being strong stewards of the land, the alleviation of hunger and increasing the security of healthy as well as locally grown food in our neighborhoods. Sonoma County is on the forefront of a growing movement to support and enhance a healthy and viable food system for all people and for future generations. A good example is the work we are doing on the Young-Armos incubator farm concept which can prepare beginning farmers by offering agricultural and business training, mentoring alongside experienced farmers and ranchers, AND very importantly, access to land. The incubator farm concept will put into action the principles envisioned when this program was launched – and I’m excited to see this concept being vetted and hopefully moving forward to become an essential part of the support network for our local food economy. Let’s work together toward an ever-healthier, ever more sustainable food system in Sonoma County!