Special Editorial By Jan Spencer
Fayetteville has the potential to become a state and regional model for moving towards local food security — a condition where food produced in town and nearby can feed the local population in ways that are environmentally, economically and socially responsible.
A growing number of community leaders and citizen activists recognize the importance of local food security. It is timely, inclusive, offers a wide range of benefits and can become one of the most important community actions in Fayetteville’s history.
And it’s none too soon. A look at the trends — local, national and global should be enough to convince anyone there are compelling reasons to adjust our long held assumptions about resources, economics, the environment and how we take care of our human needs. The food system we currently depend upon contains numerous fundamental problems.
Many cities and towns across the country share the same concerns and are taking action from Asheville to Chicago to Eugene. Initiatives to address food insecurity can range in scale from community-wide to the neighborhood to homeand personal.
Sites for urban food can include parks, front yards, back yards, street right of ways, unused public land, space made available by private landowners, schools, apartment complexes, roof tops and businesses. Church and suburban properties can be converted to gardens and edible landscapes becoming demonstration sites for the community to show how familiar real estate can be transformed to serve an exciting, new and important purpose.
What we choose to eat is an immense part of food security. Eating lower on the food chain – more fruit, grains and vegetables and less meat, dairy and processed foods brings local food security closer within reach and also leads to cleaner air, water and improvements to public health.
Community buy-in for local food, energy and water will further lead to a higher level of community cohesion. A shared goal can help bring friends, neighbors and diverse people together in common cause for regaining a more traditional kind of economic and social security based on shared values, goals, resilience and civic culture.
Fayetteville has an enormous potential and responsibility for becoming a pioneer for creating a safer and more secure community. Its an ambitious and unprecedented undertaking. There are many allies, assets and tools to work with in this task and many benefits to be gained. The trends of our times call for a new kind of community ideal that looks to more local sources for taking care of human needs in ways that are friendly to people and planet.
Building A Food City and Sustainable Communities Event:
Visit Tri Cycle Farms off Garland Ave. for a unique chance to be with others in the local
food movement for a day of learning and discussion with Jan Spencer of Eugene, Ore.
Jan Spencer has over 13 years of experience in developing sustainable systems including
energy, water, and food on his quarter-acre suburban property which has become a
permaculture landmark in the Pacific Northwest. He is coming to share his knowledge and
experience with the Fayetteville community and will be joined by local food enthusiasts who
will share their knowledge and experience, including Trinity United Methodist Pastor, Terry
Gosnell, Fayetteville City Council Member, Sarah Marsh, Author of “Building Your Ark” Lia
Danks and Ozark Natural Foods Produce Manager, Pauline Thiessen.
When: Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Tri Cycle Farm across from 1021 W. Sycamore in Fayetteville