I think for most of my life, up until the past couple years I wasnt really aware of the issues dealing with food diversity. It started to sink in more as I was exploring for of the organic and local food options that were available, as well as starting to get more into cooking with different seasonal ingredients. Certainly as we have talked about in class, when you go to a grocery store the possibilities seem endless, and im sure many of us have thought what else there could possibly be to eat? The truth is food is just as diverse as any thing else on the planet, if not more.

So this past summer I put it upon myself to look more into local, organic forms of food. So I started in Sarasota, volunteering at Passion for Produce, a food co op run by Michelle Silva. She sells bags of local organic fruits & vegetables weekly and has converted her entire backyard to an aquaponic system and small scale farm. To me, working with and meeting the people who grow your food is extremely important to preserving and supporting a diverse food system. Too much of what we eat comes from un known sources, which is detrimental to how we perceive food. If we don’t know anything about where it came from, who grew it, how did they grow it then we lose the connectedness and respect that we all should have for what we eat.

Also, in my travels I stopped by Growing Power which is an urban farm in Milwaukee, WI. I first heard about it after watching the documentary “Fresh” where there is a walk through of their green houses. This place really is incredible though, even you just love good food and arent necessarily into farming for yourself. They have 13 different greenhouses which grow huge amounts of salad greens, sprouts, herbs, mushrooms etc. Running through the green houses are 6 aquaponic/ hydroponic systems that grow Tilapia, Perch, as well as a variety of herb and salad greens and over 50 bins of red wriggler worms. They also divert about a million pounds of food waste from the city into compost which they use to feed the plants as well as keep their greenhouses warm in the winter. Here are two short videos of their facility.

Growing Power

Growing Power 2

-Matthew Decker

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6 responses »

  1. I find your point interesting about gaining a feeling of connectedness when you know where your food came from. I totally agree. You know it’s safe, you know it’s good and you know you are supporting a good company. Good post.

  2. mvalenti (12) says:

    That was really awesome. That guy’s farm is really cool, and he even raises fish. I wish we had more of those types of places around, then maybe food wouldn’t cost so much because of transportation and machinery costs.

  3. kristysiciliano says:

    i found this very interesting, i think its better to know your local farmer then to buy from a grocery store, because you don’t know what’s in it, if you know the farmer and what not, you learn what they use and what is in the product.

  4. Wow! Growing Power is very impressive. My favorite bit is the million pounds of food waste that they compost from the city. I’m also impressed with your decision to volunteer at Passion for Produce. I agree that i prefer to know from where my food comes. I’m really interested in shopping only from local farms. My favorite places to shop for food in Sarasota are the Fruitville Grove, Yoder’s Amish Market, and the downtown farmer’s market. I encourage everyone to visit these places!

    ~CJ Hipp

    • Matt Decker says:

      I did some further research, and its actually 6 million lbs of food waste, even better! I would also check out Jessica’s Organic Farm which is about 15 minutes from campus. They have a farmers market all day on Fridays and Saturdays.

  5. Ben Anderson says:

    That’s really awesome. Majority of my family grew up on farms and my grandfather now has a vegetable garden in his back yard. It’s amazing how far a personal relationship with the food you take in can go whether the relationship is with a local farmer or if you just keep a small garden in your yard.

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