Hopefully, many of you are planning on heading to the Midwest for the PPS September International Public Market Conference on September 21-23, 2012. If you do, it might be worth an extra few days to drive or take the train to Chicago and see their growing local food presence. Every time I go, I find another sustainable project or food system piece to check out. It certainly has to do with the current federal administration’s own interest (and connection to the new mayor) in their home city, and probably also has to do with the last mayor’s interest in greening the city; Daley was the one who put the rooftop garden on city hall after all.
The cart approach that Mayor Emmanuel is offering in the press release attached here has its supporters and detractors. I, for one think before we use these less balanced fixes to try to address food insecurity and sovereignty issues, the farmers market movement needs to be better at knowing how to identify the types of markets that work in these different situations. Or, at least, make sure that the powers that be have farmers needs in mind and have time to build food producers’ long range direct marketing plans. Those types of markets would be collected using the research that myself and others are working on: identifying characteristics, indicators to get typology of markets. My project, using the acronym Market CITY, will be bringing together researchers, practioners and stakeholders to start to build the typology framework. More on that later.
But, do start to plan your Midwestern fact-finding trip and I hope you can find time to seek out these regional farming initiatives when you travel.