This time of year I am so thankful for the bounty of amazing fresh produce, meats, cheeses and beautiful crafts that are available at all of the Farmer’s Market’s in Kitsap County. We live in an amazing place with so much incredible food. I love the opportunity to visit with the farmers who work hard to bring this abundance to market and marvel at the drive and passion that keeps them doing what they do day in and day out, season after season. We have fertile farmland here and an even bigger treasure in the hands of those who work the land. I love growing food in my own garden too – and visiting with my chickens while I harvest squash and feast on sun warmed berries. I value the sense of community I feel when we open our garden for the Manette Edible Garden Tour (www.manetteediblegardens.com – coming up this weekend on August 2nd) and the camaraderie with the other gardeners – most of whom know far more about growing things than I do.

2013 Harvest Dinner54Growing food is such an amazing connector of people and our earth. There is connection between farmers and backyard gardeners and the ground we work, the connection between neighbors when we share our experiences and food that we’ve grown and connection between grower and consumer when we have the opportunity to meet the farmers that have toiled to produce what we purchase at our favorite farmer’s market. I grew up spending time in my Grandparents’ garden and “helping” my Dad plow for our own garden at home. I often take for granted this connection I have to where food comes from and the value in being as close as possible to the origin of what I put on my table. My children are also experiencing this connection to food and they will eat a much greater variety of vegetables if they can see it growing and harvest it themselves.

A recent post on face book reminded me of just how lucky I am to have had this opportunity to be connected to the source of much of the food we eat. A friend of mine shared carrots from her garden with several neighborhood children, they were so excited and barely waited until it was washed to eat their harvest. They went off to their respective houses happily munching on their garden fresh carrots. Several days later my friend asked the kids what their families thought of their carrots and was told “we had to throw them away because it wasn’t safe to eat raw food”. To most of us, this is mind boggling and even horrifying. The thing is THIS ISN’T UNCOMMON. We live in a community where food insecurity is rampant. When people live with food insecurity there are so many impacts to our society as a whole. Kids who don’t have enough healthy foods to eat may have cognitive delays, a harder time focusing in school and the long term health implications are staggering.

What if we had a year around grocery store in our community that sourced food as locally as possible? What if that store had a classroom space for teaching cooking and how to feed families healthy food on a budget? What if that same store provided access to healthy options for WIC and EBT clients? What if there was a community gathering place where you could meet friends over a cup of coffee? What if there were regular events that allowed you to meet the farmers that produced the food available for purchase in that store? All of these things and more are what our Kitsap Community Food Co-op can provide this community. I’m not suggesting that our Co-op will solve world hunger or even hunger in Kitsap but it will help. It will help because co-ops are known for strengthening community and when communities are strong all kinds of magical things happen. How committed are you to making this happen for yourself, your family, your community? Email me at jean@kitsapfood.coop. I’d love to visit with you about your passion and how you can help make this vision a reality.

Cooperatively,

Jean Clark

KCFC Board Vice President 

 

Connecting with your Food