Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eat Local

There's no doubt eating locally grown food benefits both the community and the environment, but without regular visits to a farmers' market, it can be difficult for consumers to make that happen. We've already covered a few innovative ways companies are helping homegrown produce get into consumers' hands—delivery by bicycle, to name just one—and recently we learned of another: Washington state's Ferry Farm Stand.

Beginning June 25, the Ferry Farm Stand will open every Wednesday evening at the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal, offering Seattle commuters a variety of locally grown produce in convenient USD 5 bags. Commuters arriving on the island via the busy 4:40 pm and 5:30 pm ferries will then be able to grab a bag of fresh local lettuce, some crisp sugar snap peas or a box of sweet, island-grown strawberries before they get in their car or board their bus or bike. The effort is a project of local nonprofit group Sound Food in partnership with Sustainable Bainbridge and the Chamber of Commerce, and is designed to encourage local residents to eat more food grown close to home. All of the food sold at the Ferry Farm Stand will be picked fresh at farms on Bainbridge Island and nearby North Kitsap. Sound Food is providing all of the staffing, organization and promotional support, allowing 100 percent of the proceeds to go directly to the farmers.

Sound Food founder Sallie Maron explains: “We wanted to find a way to make it easy for people to buy local food—especially those who can’t make it to the Farmers' Market on Saturday. What better place than right where they get off the boat on their way home to dinner?”

Indeed, bringing the produce to consumers—rather than expecting them to find it themselves—and then pricing it for a speedy transaction is a clever approach that looks ripe for emulation anywhere local produce is grown. Imagine the response in the subways of New York City, London or Singapore! Seems to us bringing *enough* produce would then become the real challenge.

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