During the pandemic, it’s been gratifying to see people come together to provide food for the neediest among us. Here in Jericho, it’s been easy to get volunteers to show up for TTJ’s Extra Row days. As long as a farmer is willing to grow an extra row of crops, people will show up to harvest and help get them delivered to local food shelves and charities.
Threats to our food supply are on the horizon, as supply chains and delivery insecurities abound, translating into gaps on grocery store shelves. Add inconsistencies from climate change and labor issues and I can just hear the worried-sounding oy-yoi-yois of my Jewish ancestors.
Why are local farmers, our true land stewards, struggling to exist, and why aren’t more people gardening, preserving and storing crops in ways humans have done for eons, before industrial agriculture took over? To address these questions, TTJ has hosted sessions on Abenaki seed renewal efforts and we support Vermont’s indigenous peoples returning to the land, growing heirloom crops and living in balance with the earth.
Here in Jericho, we hope to go beyond depending on food imports, and work toward gaining food independence. That entails a whole lot of skill sharing and in turn, great community building, neighborhood by neighborhood. As the saying goes, “Feed the people fish, they eat for a day; teach them how to fish, they eat for a lifetime.”
To these ends, on March 2, TTJ will be facilitating a workshop at Vermont’s Winter NOFA Conference, titled “Building Food Sovereignty in Jericho,” during which we’ll dialog around creating a working model for any town in Vermont and perhaps even the whole USA. We’ll bring together our town administrator, John Abbott; a local food advocate, Alissa White; and Jericho farmer, Tucker Andrews. Dave and I from TTJ will represent an activated citizenry.
Panelists will look at some ‘what if’ questions in order to envision a future Jericho that is food independent. The entire town would have to evolve in numerous ways in order to reach the goal of feeding its people year-round. We’ll invite workshop participants to share their thoughts.
Ultimately we’ll explore the steps we can take as a community, starting in the present moment, toward food sovereignty. Of course, we’re not starting from zero, as examples of what’s already happening will be presented, from Jericho and the rest of the country.
Hope to see you at the conference!
“Building Food Sovereignty in Jericho” panel discussion will take place on Wednesday March 2, from 12-1:30pm via Zoom. To register for the conference, go to: www.nofavt.org.