EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – For the past several years, interest in buying locally has been growing, especially when it comes to food.
There are plenty of reasons why; healthy eating, food freshness, supporting Oregon's own economy and many others.
That is why Lane Community College will host an event on Monday, Feb. 6, to bring together local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen with food buyers from Lane, Linn, and Benton Counties. It’s called “Local Food Connection.” Organizers call it an opportunity to network, to sample and to become educated in the subject. The theme is “Local Food Equals Economic Security."
That theme was inspired by a recent report from the University of Oregon which showed that a 1% increase in spending on local food actually brings in nearly $12 million in extra revenue for Lane County.
Elizabeth Reilly of The Kiva Grocery Store in Eugene says, “A lot of our products are direct-distributed, so the farmers or food producers will come in themselves and deliver, and we get a chance to meet them and learn their stories. It's great! I love getting the chance to meet those people and put out tendrils out to all those different communities.”
At the Monday event, food producers will have easy access to plenty of food buyers from grocery store managers, to restaurant owners and chefs, to distributors.
The event is designed to make connections like the one between two Eugene-area businesses: Cousin Jack's Pasty Company and Winter Green Farm in Noti.
Cousin Jack's makes meat and vegetable pocket pies for sale. More recently, it was putting together the recipe for a lamb-based meat pie and needed a pesto for the ingredients.
Winter Green Farms came along to supply Cousin Jack's with the pesto. The farm grows basil in wholesale quantities to do it. Its products are also available for purchase at local stores.
“You can put a search out for something specific and you can put a search out in the region who might have that, or know when they might have that, and you can source directly from them,” says David Clark, co-owner of Cousin Jack's Pasty Company.
“The more we shop locally and use local products, we support our producers and our farms and our grocers, the better our food security's going to be, locally,” says Linda Davies, owner of Winter Green Farms.
Local Food Connection will be held Monday, Feb. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Center for Meeting and Learning on the LCC campus.
The event is presented by Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation & Development (CPRCD).
More information is available on their website: http://www.cascadepacific.org/lfc-wp/.