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Sierra Harvest: Why choose Whole-sum Food?

Nevada County Food Policy Council (NCFPC), pictured, has launched a 20% Whole-sum food by 2025 challenge. “The goal,” said Miriam Limov, the council coordinator, “is that by 2025 at least 20% of the food that Nevada County residents consume will be local or regional, fair trade, ecologically produced and/or humanely raised.”
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Nevada County Food Policy Council (NCFPC) has launched a 20% Whole-sum food by 2025 challenge. “The goal,” said Miriam Limov, the council coordinator, “is that by 2025 at least 20% of the food that Nevada County residents consume will be local or regional, fair trade, ecologically produced and/or humanely raised.” According to their recent Food System assessment only 10-15% of the food we eat falls into one of these categories. Here are the top six reasons why individuals, businesses, and institutions should prioritize purchasing and eating this way.

A gleam at Johansen Farm.
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Food Resiliency: We have all learned in the last year that local, regional systems built on relationships, are going to be more stable in times of uncertainty. By choosing Whole-sum food, you are choosing farming methods more adapted to climate change with less reliance on travel through long food chains to reach Nevada County.

Emma from Riverhill Farm displays tomatoes in Nevada City.
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The Economic Multiplier Effect: Buying local has a positive economic benefit on the community because locally-owned businesses recirculate a greater percentage of revenue regionally making your dollar go twice as far.



Health Benefits: Local food travels a shorter distance to the consumer’s table, reducing the possibility of contamination. Local foods are also fresher, so fewer nutrients are lost before consumption, while producing food ecologically results in less consumption of toxic chemicals.

Ecological Benefits: Local foods preserve green spaces and farmland in the community. When produced at the scale of our local farms, they build soil health, enhance wildlife and ecology, and are usually produced without chemicals. Local food has a much smaller carbon footprint because it doesn’t have to be shipped hundreds (if not thousands) of miles.



Food Sovereignty: Food sovereignty is the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods. By putting food production back in the hands of Nevada County residents, we can have greater influence over the outcomes of the system.

• Whole-sum prioritizes food that is fair and humanely raised, conditions that are often overlooked when purchasing food.

Jonathan Collier, steering committee member of the council explained “Whole-sum Food brings a holistic awareness to each piece of the food system and its contributions to the greater whole. By respecting and maintaining a right relationship with each part, you promote a more robust, productive, and thriving system that supports and rewards all levels of participation.”

According to the NCFPC, everyone can participate in the 20% Whole-sum food by 2025 Challenge by signing up for the ‘Every Bite Counts’ program where the council will be tracking our communities progress toward this 20% goal and by setting a food purchasing policy for your agency or institution.

The categories that will be tracked include:

• Local (produced within 20 miles of where it’s eaten and includes homegrown foods)

• Regional (direct from the producer or within 120 miles)

• Ecologically-produced (Organic, biodynamic or regenerative certification)

• Fair (fair trade certified with safe and fair conditions for workers)

• Humane (animal welfare certified)

Through the Every Bite Counts program, restaurants and institutions who sign up for the program will be eligible for decals in their windows and marketing support once they meet a certain threshold of food purchases in the whole-sum food categories.

Shana Maziarz of Three Forks Bakery and Brewing Co. is on the development committee for Every Bite Counts, a program of Sierra Harvest. She said, “we are excited to be creating a program that will help consumers know where they can go to purchase prepared foods that are made from ingredients that are better for our planet and our health.”

For more information or to get involved sign up online on the Food Policy Council website page at: https://sierraharvest.org/connect/food-policy-council/ or contact fpc@sierraharvest.org. Look for this continued series which is informed by the Nevada County Food Policy council’s recent food system assessment every month.

Malaika Bishop is a Sierra Harvest Stewardship associate and Steering Committee member of the Nevada County Food Policy Council.

 


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