My favorite time of day is having my first cup of coffee on the porch. The sights and sounds of morning are refreshing as I savor a few minutes of meditation for me. What is your favorite time for you? You may find that like me, you can get more done on the list if your morning routine is relaxing rather than hurried. The porch is also where I love to have summer meals with the garden fresh produce that’s available. No matter where you drive in this community, we are blessed to find many vendors who grow food to share with others. This week, August 9-15 is Ohio State University’s first celebration of Local Foods Week.
There is really no clear cut definition of local foods; some refer to within 100 miles or within the state. People consider where their food was grown or raised and make an effort to develop personal connections with the growers and producers to enjoy flavorful, safe, local food. Ohio Local Foods Week is not only about enjoying the tastes of foods grown locally, but is also about becoming more aware and better informed about the nutritional, economic, and social benefits of local foods in Ohio.
Here are a few facts that have been shared that I found interesting:
- Did you know that agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry? It contributes jobs for one in seven Ohioans, and more than $107 billion to the state's economy. (ohioproud.org)
- Ohio offers a unique proximity of metropolitan and micropolitan areas, linking rural and urban consumers, growers and communities to food produced on small, medium and large-scale family-owned farms.
- Ohio ranks in the top ten states for direct sales to consumers represented by a wide variety of food products including but not limited to eggs, milk, cheese, honey, maple syrup, beverages, bread and other artisan products, fresh, frozen canned and dried vegetables, fruits and meats. (USDA Ag Census, 2012.) Wayne County is in the top five for dairy production, eggs, fruits and vegetables to name a few.
- While we are fortunate to have such a rich abundance in this community, one in six Ohioans is food insecure and lacks access to fresh, local, healthy food.
- All Ohioans are part of the food system just by making daily decisions about what food to eat.
August is a great time to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week because of the availability of direct-to-consumer marketing of all products including a wide variety of fresh produce. The Ohio State University Extension Local Food Signature Program invites everyone to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week from August 9th – 15th, 2015. We encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to grow, purchase, highlight and promote local food all the time but especially during this week.
Just as there is no one definition for “local,” there is no one way to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week. You are invited to participate in the $10 Ohio Local Foods Challenge by committing to spend at least ten dollars (or more) on your favorite local foods during Ohio Local Foods Week. Look for regional community events, follow the event on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up at http://go.osu.edu/olfw10dollars for the $10 Ohio Local Foods Challenge
If you plan to preserve any of these local foods and would like to have your pressure canner gauge tested, I’ll be at Mt. Hope Hardware on Wednesday, August 19 and at Lehman’s in Kidron on Thursday, August 20 from 9:00-1:00 each day. If these days/times are not convenient, call the Extension office, 330-264-8722, to schedule a time.