1. Large trucks carry it across the nation.
2. Farmers bring it every store.
3. Farmers bring it to farmer’s market.
4. In shipping containers from China, Guatemala, Chile and other countries.

If you shop at the major grocery stores, then answers 1 and 4 are appropriate for you. But if you value New England raised food, then answers 2 and 3 are correct. But there is no way to know what was put on that food, as recent problems have indicated such as contaminated cat food. Chile is one of the powerhouse agricultural countries, but along with that comes DDT and other pesticides that the US has banned, but are commonly used in other nations. But who’s doing the work on the farm if the farmer is on the road? If the weather is prime for field work, or fixing fences, does the farmer delay the delivery (and the pay) in order to stop and do the farm work? Not likely, which means the farm work gets behind.

In other parts of the country farmers are putting together cooperatives or new businesses to coordinate deliveries. Here in New England that process is just starting. Mass Local Food Coop asks the farmer to come only once a month to a central location and the co-op disperses it further, but depending upon the distance from the farm to the co-op drop that may still be a half day or more of work lost. Mass Local Food only takes a small share of the profit, so that the farmers are encouraged to participate. In Athol, Organic Renaissance is working to make it possible for farmers to coordinate transportation through a website, which is a growing model. Here in Ashburnham, farmers and bakers can bring some of their goods to our Farmer’s Porch and we’ll sell it for them,keeping only a small share of the profit.

But we’re looking at finding ways to develop new businesses so that people can benefit from the rise in the interest in local food, and facilitate that food transportation, making a living from being that bridge between producer and consumer. It is one of the ways we’re trying to build our Sustainability Hub, so that there are local businesses growing from healthy food and community support.
If you’re interested in learning more, come to the Center, 12 Memorial Drive, Ashburnham, MA at 1:00 p.m. We’ll try to get done before kick off!

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