Several different local organizations are working to expand
consumer access to locally grown produce, an effort
that should help central Pennsylvania farmers and put more
local fruit and vegetables on dinner tables.
There’s a movement across the country based on the concept of sustainability. It is in response to our overly-consumptive and wasteful ways as a society. Sustainability can be applied to many aspects of life, with one of the most common being food sustainability. The American Public Health Association defines a sustainable food system as “one that provides healthy food to meet current food needs while maintaining healthy ecosystems that can also provide food for generations to come with minimal negative impact to the environment. A sustainable food system also encourages local production and distribution infrastructures and makes nutritious food available, accessible, and affordable to all. Further, it is humane and just, protecting farmers and other workers, consumers, and communities."
Momentum around food sustainability is starting to build in York County. Several organizations and initiatives have come together to share ideas and resources to make a bigger impact on food practices in this area. The Food Availability Task Force includes a diverse group of people with a goal “to increase consumption of fresh local produce through innovative partnerships with growers and distribution points.”
The York County chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local formed to make it easier for county consumers to “find, choose, and appreciate great local foods while supporting the farmers and lands that produce them.” Area businesses with a Buy Fresh Buy Local label demonstrate their commitment to featuring local foods and supporting local producers.
Healthy World Café, a restaurant coming soon to downtown York, is based on the concept of sustainability and has plans to serve meals made from only locally-grown or raised foods. Members of the Café’s Guiding Committee have ties with the Food Availability Task Force and other sustainability initiatives. The Café has plans to utilize a database such as the one provided by Local Harvest to identify food sources as part of its procurement efforts.
The bottom line is this: We waste a lot of food in this country, while many go hungry, more and more become obese, and increasing stress is put on our planet’s limited resources. It makes sense to look for ways to localize our food distribution system. In addition to preserving our future, it will enhance our economic development efforts by keeping more money in the local economy. And on top of all that, wouldn’t it be nice to know where your food came from?
Deron Schriver is the executive administrator for The Women's Healthcare Group and a member of the Guiding Committee for Healthy World Café. He has a particular interest in studying and participating in solutions to address health issues affecting our society. Deron earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master's in business administration, both from York College. He lives in West Manchester Township with his wife, Lisa.