January 28, 2009
In mid-January, Future Harvest – A Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, held its 10th annual conference. More than 200 people gathered to learn about sustainable agriculture practices, and how to get more local, sustainable foods into groceries, schools, hospitals and even farmers markets (thanks to keynote speaker Nina Planck). This year’s attendance was evidence of the expanding diversity of the group’s supporters as food service chefs from schools and hospitals, small grocery buyers, local food distributors, and farmers’ market managers came for the first time. Farmers from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania mingled with these folks, sharing their stories and talking about ways to improve the local food system. Members and supporters of Future Harvest CASA are a real, viable solution to the recent unsettling news about the safety of our food supply – like antibiotic resistant staff strains in industrially produced hogs and mercury in industrially produced High Fructose Corn Syrup or see IATP press release.
A major sponsor of Future Harvest CASA, the Maryland Grazers Network Project, featured numerous workshops at the conference to spread word of their innovative program that pairs experienced grass-based farmers with new or transitioning farmers. Spreading knowledge about sustainably raised grass-fed animals is a boon to the environment of the Chesapeake watershed and to our health.