Thursday, November 6, 2008


News this week has left me feeling hopeful. This is unusual. I normally approach the news with healthy skepticism. OK, more like cynicism leaning toward paranoia, so it’s even more surprising that events of the week have inspired feelings of optimism.

It started early in the week when I read that Toronto council has approved a local-food procurement policy. The policy will begin in city day cares where 50% of the food served will be from local growers and producers. As I grew up in Southwestern Ontario, and think highly of food grown in that region, this was welcome news. Local farmers should be supported by government choices. The fact that several members of my family earn their living either directly or indirectly from farming added to my satisfaction in this story.

My mood was further enhanced when I discovered that the mayor of London, England is encouraging Londoners to grow their own food, and that County Councillors on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales are reviewing food service contracts to ensure schools are serving more local foods.

A story from the Dallas Morning News was the one that surprised me most. After eight years of George W. Bush, I have some fairly negative and stereotypical views of Texans. I was delighted to find that a member of Slow Food Dallas is creating an online farmer’s market. (I will admit that I was also delighted to find that there is a Slow Food Dallas. That blew a few preconceived notions out of the water.) The website will allow consumers to connect with local farmers and ranchers. I know it says a lot about my narrow-minded view of the world, but I found this story greatly encouraging.

Of course, my optimism comes with doubts. I am still a cynic at heart, but even a cynic can hope. I hope that all of these plans can be carried out responsibly. I hope that the plans are so successful that they expand and spread to other communities and organizations. The local-food issue is in the spotlight right now, so I’m also hoping that the plans are sustainable and can survive the next hot topic and the next election. I realize that is a frightening number of things to hope for, but given my current mood, I think it can be done.

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