Publisher’s Letter: Spring 2016
By Jamie Lamonde | Photo By Jim Klousia 0
Madison’s leadership in the farm to cafeteria movement—taking local foods into institutional settings where more people can have access—has a deep history and strong momentum. And it’s being recognized in a special way this year: the National Farm to School Network selected Madison as the location for its 8th National Farm to Cafeteria conference!
Madison was chosen because of its long-term leadership, its examples of success (of which there are many) and its learnings from challenges (both surmounted and current). It’s a great honor to have more than 1,500 food movement leaders from across the country land in Madison to explore the city and surrounding region, learn from each other and create plans for the future together.
In celebration, beginning with this edition of Edible Madison and continuing on our website leading up to the conference, we will be sharing stories about farm to institution activities taking place in southern Wisconsin. There are of course too many to tell, but the stories you’ll read here and online over the next few months represent the hard work being done to “mainstream” local foods in our region. We’re excited to shine a spotlight on the people and programs breaking down the barriers between access to local food and early care locations, schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, military and other institutional settings.
Just as everyone deserves to have easy, affordable access to local food, farmers deserve access to reach them. Farm to table restaurants, co-ops and grocery stores, food and beverage producers and many others have helped to develop our local foods infrastructure through their collective purchasing power. The expansion into institutions means that farmers will have new opportunities to sell to kitchens that are in need of consistent supply and larger quantities of food. If the local foods marketplace continues to grow in this direction, institutions could become a real economic backbone for our farming community.
Also in this issue, we are excited to announce the 5th annual Local Hero Award winners. Nominated and voted for by you, our readers. We are thankful to the more than 2,000 people who participated in the people’s-choice award process. As part of this award, the winners each get to select a Wisconsin non-profit organization to receive a $500 donation. Watch for an announcement in April on our website and our social media to find out which organizations they select. Congratulations to this year’s awardees—well deserved!
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Jamie has worked in the organic and sustainable lifestyle industry for more than a decade. She is a communications professional with a deep commitment to nurturing positive social change through values-driven, education-based public outreach. Through her work, she is committed to building bridges between family farmers and citizen-partners to change the food system for the better.
Jamie graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, with a B.A. in English Literature. She lives in the beautiful Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin and continues to be inspired, and inspire others, through the organic and local food and farming movement.