Local food for thought - live blogging this Friday!

Have you ever seen one of those “Buy Local” stickers on a car or restaurant window? Have you thought about what that slogan really means? Most people like the idea in concept, but when it comes to buying food locally, it can be easier said than done in some parts of the state. In fact, food today, on average, travels more than 1500 miles before it arrives on our dinner tables.

North Carolina could be a leader in the local food movement, but we’re not. That’s why the Center for Integrating Research and Action at UNC Chapel Hill is sponsoring a conference this weekend on the challenge of making local food available all across our state. Deborah Webb, executive director of the Community Farm Alliance (CFA) based in Frankfort, Kentucky, is keynoting the conference - and will be live-blogging with us Friday morning from 9 to 10:30.

A lawyer by training, Deborah has worked with the CFA since 1986. In 2000, CFA was instrumental in fashioning legislation to allocated $1.7 billion in tobacco settlement funds for the purpose of transitioning Kentucky’s tobacco dependent communities.

If Kentucky can do this in a big way, North Carolina should be able to as well. Which is why I've invited Deborah to join us for your questions and comments on Friday.

Hope you can come.


I know we have plenty of "local food" advocates

here at BlueNC, but I thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of someone who's been doing the hard work for more than 20 years - in another state.

If you won't be able to join the conversation with Deborah on Friday morning, you can drop off your questions here.

Also, I could use help on facilitating the session Friday morning. I can definitely be here to set up and blog for the first half hour, but then I have a series of conference calls that will take up the rest of my day. Any volunteers?

Awesome, I might get some foodies I know

to sign up..,.oh wait, they are all going out of town Friday. Shoot, they would have loved it.

John Edwards is great!
- Sam Spencer, BlueNC, 7/3/07

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Garlic from China.

Everyone reading this should bow their head and say a word of prayer for my poor wife who puts up with my shopping habits... well, one habit especially.

I am unsure when this habit started, but it was within the last 2 years. I think it is some of Lou Dobbs rubbing off on me.

As my wife is busy checking the nutrition labels on the food we are putting in the basket, I am rattling off the countries of origin - China, China, China, Mexico, China, Peru, China, China, Honduras.

Then I lost it one day, I found a small box of garlic bulbs that came from China. One single ounce of garlic had been shipped from CHINA to Lewisville and had found it's way into my basket. OH MY GAWD DID I BITCH. I complained to management, I warned and complained to other shoppers - Hell, I even let me displeasure known to the cashier. I wasn't belligerent or rude, just "can you believe we can't even get American grown garlic?" The folks in the store that I discussed the China issue with were all more virulent about the issue than I was. Some were damn mad - one chap was fuming.

That was it for me and Lowe's Foods. My wife and I decided to switch to Whole Foods, we expected our food price to be higher, but we bit the bullet. Surprisingly, our bill has gone down. Driscoll's strawberries at Lowes is four times higher than it is at Whole Foods, plus the WF's product was much more higher in quality.

I still have my habit of calling out the place of origin, but now I can be heard saying "North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia, Maine, North Carolina, Lenoir, California, California, Greece, California, Maryland, North Carolina."

I can't way enough good things about this store and their buy local policies. Yes, Maine isn't exactly in Forsyth County, but it ain't Asia.


Town Called Dobson - Daily Political Cartoon: Not all is red in rural America!

Garlic is easy to grow

At least it was in PA - as long as you break off the bud before it flowers, you get great cloves. I haven't tried it in NC. There's no reason for it to be from China!


I have a year's supply of it, hanging in my garden shed. Just take a nice garlic bulb, break apart all the cloves, and each one will grow into a new head of garlic. I plant mine in September or October, and harvest them in June or July.

tee hee

We will never have to worry about vampires.

Me, either!

Ah, Garlic

In the words of the Great Alton Brown,

Garlic Don't Need No Reason

Hey, Thomas

There's one on Wade Ave. in Raleigh. eh ... still a bit far, huh? I'm fortunate enough that I can make that one on my way home if I take the north Raleigh half of the beltline home. Y'all need something over there in the east. I would think that at least Greenville or New Bern could support a Whole Foods.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Oh, gosh ... you're right.

I think even the Rs around there are the 'crunchy' (green) sort. I can't believe there's no Whole Foods in Wilmington. That is just wrong.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."


did anyone else hear about the head of China's FDA being executed lately? Something about bogus pharmaceuticals being sold to the Chinese public.

Swift justice

supposidely 10 people died in china because of this guy and he gave us an excuse to attempt to start a boycott of chinise products.

He enabled other countries to say the chinese products suck, dont buy em. Simple solution to a complex problem. shoot the guy in the head and charge the family for the bullet. And we buy garlic from these people? I so hate FTA. This stuff goes either straight into the country, or to latin america where it is then shipped to us. And its cheaper still? I do not understand the economic sense of this.

The only bad thing is china has got such a strangle hold on us that you cant help but buy their crap if thats the only thing on the shelf. My county has one food-lion. no other grociery store. in fact the food lion is the biggest store in the county by floor space. We have a mcdonalds and an andys in the county. Thats it. no other known brand anything. OOOOO we got a citgo and a hess gas station. our subway sandwich stand is inside the citgo gas station.

We have to go to the next county over for a farm fresh, walmart, jc penny and belks. a real subway shop, wendys, burger king and taco hell and sonic. For our lumber needs, we have one lowes and no home depot. Thats pretty much it for known establishments. Going west, from my county, well, theres nothing. for a long long long distance. Going south, you have to go to plymouth to finally find big names. and then they are the same big names as in EC. so why run down to there.

At $3/gallon, im not driving two counties looking for non-chinese products. I may only find made in china. Aint that a kick in the head.

I never go to the next county over, or I try not to. Hate the traffic in elizebeth city. Its not like my county where at 5pm the one major stop light will only catch you for one light cycle if your unlucky! By 5:15pm the entire rushhour traffic is complete and downtown has rolled up the sidewalks for the night.

Sounds wonderful, A

I may not be able to stop by, but I will try. Things are getting just a wee bit crazy just about now.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

We shop the local Farmers Market each weekend

The produce is fresh, inexpensive and locally grown. The quality is not quite up to Whole Foods standards on all items, but mostly it is. They also have locally rasied beef, ostrich, rabbit, duck and a wonderful locally made goat cheese. I do like the Farmers Market.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Whole Foods has sold out.

So many of their products now contain corn syrup, it is a shame. Their outside vendors, not so much, but they have also switched to other, cheaper vendors that use corn syrup and other processes ingredients.

John Edwards is great!
- Sam Spencer, BlueNC, 7/3/07

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Oh, I want a Saturday

Farmer's Market in Clayton sooooo badly. And we have a ready and eager market for it. People here want one. There is one on Fridays in Smithfield but none of us who work 8-5 in Raleigh or RTP can do that one. The Town has been conducting citizen surveys and market studies and Farmer's Market comes out at the top of every list.

Looking forward to Friday!!

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Ha Ha

The one that was supposed to open (new) in Smithfield -

Three times I've been there --

Three times they were not there.

It looks like I have to go out to that other one despite ....

it's out of the way (and)

Others struggling with the origin of food issue

Members of the Italian agricultural COLDIRETTI lobby, dressed with vegetable costumes, march with their signs and banners during a protest in Bologna, central Italy. Protesters marched through central Bologna demanding the implementation of a law approved by the Italian parliament last year that would force Italian industries to specify on labels the origin of the ingredients of foods and drugs. (AP Photo/Gianni Schicchi)
(July 11, 2007)

Whole Foods

We do not see Whole Foods as a strategy. Farmers need to set their own prices and they need their own distribution networks to do that. We have some individuals who have been able to negogiate with Whole Foods and they are under a lot of pressure from Wild Oats right now, so they are acting better, but the organic grocery stores do not operate in any fundamentally different way than the others -- they talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk.

Yes, I have been deeply disappointed with Whole Foods.

They have completely sold out, I wish the Wellspring owner had never sold out to them.

John Edwards is great!
- Sam Spencer, BlueNC, 7/3/07

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Good News, Bad News, No News ...

We report. You decide.

China fights back by targeting U.S. meat

Frozen poultry products from Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat processor, were found to be contaminated with salmonella

Geez - salmonella on chicken ... ya think? That's why you cook it, peeps. sheesh.

"There is no such thing as zero risk. In term of food safety, it's impossible for any country to make 100 percent of their foodstuff safe," he said

There's a 'No Shit Sherlock' Moment. Drinking water isn't 100% safe. But one must do all one can to make every item as safe as it possibly can be ... oh, shit. There I go being logical again - people are always calling me on that ...

Oh well. We do what we can. Keep calling. Keep writing. Keep speaking out.

Think globally, Act locally...not the other way around ....

Think locally - Act globally .... see, it just ain't right, er left, er... correct. That's what I mean.