With his wife Karen and daughter Elizabeth, Tom manages Thatchmore Farm, a ten-acre organic fruit and vegetable farm in Leicester, NC outside Asheville. They sell produce direct to consumers through two tailgate markets and wholesale through Carolina Organic Growers, a farmer-owned and operated marketing cooperative. Tom also manages several projects focusing on working lands as a regional planner for Land-of-Sky Regional Council in Asheville. Farmland protection and agricultural prosperity are two focus areas in his regional planning work.
Local Food Systems as a Source of Jobs and Rural Prosperity.
The flow of consumer dollars is an important consideration for planners seeking to improve the prosperity of a region or a community. Local purchases result in dollars that cycle within the community, supporting other businesses, employing neighbors, and adding to the economic well-being of an area. In contrast, purchases made for products produced elsewhere result in "leaks" in the local economy. An increasingly important opportunity to plug economic leaks in the Southern Appalachians is by supporting local food systems. This session explores ways to plug economic leaks through food purchases decisions and through public policies that support local producers. Opportunities exist to support local food in the policies that we choose from the household to the national level.
Tom Philpott is a farmer, writer, and cook at Maverick Farms in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. Philpott writes the weekly "Victual Reality" for Seattle-based Grist.org, an online environmentalist magazine. His work on food politics has appeared in Gastronomica, Sojournors, and other publications. Before turning to farming and food writing, Philpott worked as a financial journalist in New York City, and could often be found in his community-garden plot in Brooklyn.
Tom will talk discuss the role of land in a sustainable food system.
Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation guru, writer, food activist, and any other things. A New York City native and a graduate of Brown University, Sandor Katz has written extensively on food, food politics, and fermentation. He wrote the book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, published in 2003 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company, and more recently, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, published in October 2006 by Chelsea Green Published Company.
Sandor will wrap up SAY Food by reinforcing some of the day's themes and focusing on a challenge for everyone to break out of the confining role of consumer and start finding ways to become participants in food production. Sustainability is participation.