Letter To The Editor By Ariana Basco

By Ariana Basco 

In 2011, the New Paltz Village Board passed a resolution declaring the first week of October Local Food Week!  From Oct. 1, through Oct. 7, we recognize Village restaurants who prepare locally grown food and support our local farmers. Local food production creates greater food security, supports our local economy, and builds community resilience.

Resilient communities are better equipped to withstand social, economic and environmental shocks such as increases in fuel prices, transportation disruptions, droughts, floods or other devastating weather events.

When production of a given crop is concentrated in a particular region using large scale monoculture methods, a single disaster can wipe out stocks, not just for a given area, but for the whole country and global market. The global industrial agriculture system is much more vulnerable to dangerous disruptions that can upset the global commodity chain sending food prices soaring and endangering food security.

To reduce risk, we need diversified knowledge and practices: farmers who know their local conditions and how to adapt when things go wrong.

Historically, local farmers would share experiences creating a collective knowledge base that enabled them to deal with a wide range of potential problems. Today, the corporations that oversee industrial scale crop production know how to do one thing only: grow genetically modified crops using an arsenal of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Not only do these methods threaten human and environmental health, but our reliance on this system places us at risk.

Decentralized local production creates greater food security.  Thousands of small scale local farmers growing a diverse variety of crops, will insure against the failure of any one crop or the productive capacity of any one area.  This is not to say that we should be dependent on local food exclusively.  Networks among food producers and distributors can help to ensure that a local disaster does not lead to price spikes, shortages and starvation.  Supporting local farms is akin to investors who have diversified holdings rather than placing their entire savings in the stock of a single company.

With that said, please support the participating restaurants who are helping to keep our money local and build our community’s resilience!

They will be highlighting the delicious local food on their menus and look forward to sharing their tasty dishes with you:

Bridge Creek Cafe,The Cheese Plate, Lagusta’s Luscious, Main Course, The Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters and Cafe, Russo’s Italian Deli, Shea O’Brien’s, Suruchi – A Fine Taste of India and The Village Tea Room Restaurant & Bake Shop.

While these are the participating restaurants, they are not the only restaurants using local ingredients or the only ones who should be so please stop in to your favorite restaurant this week and ask for the local items on the menu!

Also join us at our annual Eat In The Street: Local Food Festival on Church Street in New Paltz on Oct. 6, the first Sunday in October from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Outreach to restaurants and farm vendors is long underway and those who wish to participate as vendors or as volunteers should email the Local Food Week organizers at NPLocalFoodWeek@gmail.com or call Ariana Basco at (845) 255-2636.

Thank you again!