Join the Eagle County food conversation |

Join the Eagle County food conversation

Cassie Pencenewsroom@vaildaily.comVAIL CO, Colorado

Dreams do come true – at least for our community’s local food advocates.On Monday, Oct. 22, the Eagle Valley Food Policy Council, along with other citizens concerned with strengthening our local food shed, will ask county commissioners and candidates questions (and even get answers) about where they stand on certain food issues, like school food, increasing local food access, food security and composting. It’s all about engaging these politicians – the very people who have influence over change – in the local food conversation. It does sound dreamy.”Healthy Dialogue for Healthy Food” (happening from 4 to 6 p.m.) is part of the larger Food Day event happening Monday, Oct. 22, from noon to 6 p.m. at Colorado Mountain College. Organized by Food Politics students, the event will feature various educational sessions exploring hot food topics, like “The Food Bill 2012: What You Need to Know” and “Know GMOs.” There will be a canning demonstration and talks on how to make healthy meals for under $5. (See info box for full schedule.)Food producers, like Osage Gardens, will be selling greens, and food vendors, like Kaleb’s Catch who sells salmon, will also be there, giving the community a sneak peak of what’s to come at the Winter Farmers Market, also happening at CMC Sundays starting Dec. 2.Food Day is a nationwide celebration and movement toward more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Every year, it culminates in a day of action on Oct. 24 (our party is a little early). Created by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and driven by a diverse coalition of food movement leaders and citizens, Food Day aims to bring us closer to a food system with “real food” that is produced with care for the environment, animals and the women and men who grow, harvest and serve it. The inaugural year, 2011, featured more than 2,300 events in all 50 states.A solid, sustainable food system would solve many of our environmental and social woes, everything from hunger to water and air pollution to reducing diabetes. It’s a subject that hits close to home because everyone – no matter if you are red and like donkeys, blue and like elephants or green and like the planet – needs to eat. Which is why it’s so exciting the commissioners are joining the dialogue. As individuals we can make a difference, but we need policy makers to impart real change.Here is a sample of questions the Eagle Valley Food Policy Council will ask the commissioner and candidates:Do you think the food provided to students in our school system is satisfactory or do you have a plan to improve it?Our valley is almost completely reliant on food trucked here via I-70. What ideas do you have to increase our food security by increasing local food production? What do you think the county can do to increase size and number of community gardens and farmers markets?Compostable materials constitute a significant portion of material dumped into the landfill each year. Do you favor instituting a composting program in Eagle County to extend the life of the landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and if so, what steps can the county take to make it a reality?The Eagle River Valley Sustainable Design Team, a panel of experts brought in to explore sustainability in our valley, top Economic Development Recommendations included: “Foster a sustainable agricultural program which integrates three main goals – environmental health, economic profitability and social and economic equity.” What are your plans to help create a more sustainable food system in Eagle County to help achieve these goals?What is your plan to improve access to healthy food for low-income households in Eagle County, including children and senior citizens?Freelance writer Cassie Pence is passionate about living a more sustainable lifestyle, She owns Organic Housekeepers, a green cleaning company, and is actively involved in the EagleVail Community Garden, the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, the Eagle Valley Food Policy Council and Slow Food Vail Valley. Contact her at

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