In And About Town: July 21

The Dairy Barn roots of Jacksonville Center persist
The Dairy Barn roots of Jacksonville Center persist

✵ Book Related Events: It would be a pleasure to see you this week at 1) Meadowbrook Library in Shawsville, Thursday at 7 pm and 2) on the porch at Sweet Providence Farm Store on 221 about 5 miles east of Floyd on Saturday, July 24 along with artist and craftsman, Ron Campbell, from 11 until 4 pm.

✵ Watch this Meet the Farmer TV show that includes a good selection of Floyd County citizens working to keep Floyd green and growing–closer together, wiser, and proactive for a sustainable future.

✵ Now Showing at the Grandin Theatre, Roanoke: Food, Inc.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising–and often shocking truths–about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. link

✵ If you have reservations, doubts, concerns about the future with regard to climate disruption–is it real, is it serious, what can we do, what should we do, should we wait, is there enough evidence…then watch this ten minute exercise in decision making, because no matter what you do, you will have a hand in “How it All Ends.” I can pretty well guarantee you will be glad you watched this. We ARE deciding what to do every day, and the outcome is perhaps one of the most consequential in our history.

✵ Looks like we’re going to FloydFest after all–Friday afternoon. See a few thousand of you there!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Interesting links. For example, I looked at “10 simple things you can do” list, and I found myself wondering about many of these points.

    Take #2. Eat at home instad of eating out.
    I imagine BOTH children and adults consume more calories when eating out, but I’m not sure that is nor should be incentive enough to not dine out.

    #3. NYC currently posts calorie counts, and I expect this to become more popular, although to legislate it is a slippery slope inviting greater government control. Ex: We all know McD’s food is bad for us without the calorie count, but we eat there regardless.

    #4. Obesity rates. This could be due to home eating habits as well as excercise issues. I think this point kind of over-abuses the candy dispensers.

    #6. I would think this good, but what would the world’s food supply be without pesticides? Without industrial farming for that matter? What would the cost differential be if we lost say 25% of our food supply by going organic or from the additional costs of production?

    #7. I briefly looked for hard data on farmer’s market costs. Me and others like markets because of their real or perceived freshness and supporting local farmers, but they appear to cost more than the supermarkets. Nowhere is cost addressed in any of these points.

    #8. Distance transported. Well, our farmer’s market runs only during a few months of summer, if that. Where else can we go for food after the growing season? And who wouldn’t want fruits and vegetables in the winter? I think we’ll have to relay on transporting goods long distance unless we agree to eat only seasonal items. Finally, don’t we expend extra time and fuel going to multiple specialty markets rather than one centralized store?

    #10. Maybe we should first confirm that all employees are legal, which may improve wages instantly. Next, as long as workers are appropriately safe, then the separate wage issue should be a contract between employer and employee rather than mandated by any government.