Do you ever think about where your food comes from? Some of it's from thousands of miles away. Other items may only be from a few miles down the road.
University of Virginia students have been working to figure out where our area's food system stands. Tuesday, they're revealing their results and want to hear from you. The students have been studying Charlottesville's "glocal" food system. That's a combination of global and local. Their goal was to assess different situations and find out how we can work to create a better balance between the two areas depending on what people need.
Tim Beatley is a professor of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia. His class is studying Charlottesville's food system. Each student is focusing on a different aspect of "glocal" foods or combining global and local supplies. Families in affordable housing, restaurants, and community services are all topics. Each has its own story.
They've found that people with affordable housing encounter another problem: they can't afford local food.
"They spend about 15 percent of their income, 300 a month on food, which makes feeding a family of seven local food, and even inexpensive food, inaccessible" said undergraduate student Tommy Roberts.
In corporate situations, money isn't an issue. Chipotle gets almost 100 percent of their pork supply from a farm an hour down the road and hasn't taken a financial hit. Their concern is federal standards.
"They had to overcome a certain amount of red tape, negotiate deals with polyface and generally just go in a direction that most large corporations in Chipotle's place probably wouldn't do," explained graduate student Jonathan Coble.
Last on the list, is the Jefferson Area Board for Aging. They have issues due to dietary needs.
"Figuring out a way they can modify their diet to incorporate the seasonality of the produce that the farmers have to offer," said graduate student Regine Kennedy.
They are different situations, but each leaves an effect on our community. "It's partly about health, it's partly about place, landscape community. It's about reducing our ecological footprint where we can," offered Beatley.
In all there are nine different case studies that were done. Each one focused on a different area. Here's the list:
Wild Oats Farm
Blue Moon Diner
University of Virginia Dining Services
Jefferson Area Board for Aging
Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
Harold Foley and the Foley Family
If you're interested in learning more about the groups findings, the presentation is open to the public. The presentation is Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Charlottesville City Hall.The group will present their entire project and there will be a question and answer session.