Local Food Week to promote locally produced foods

The first week of October will be Local Food Week in the Heights, a celebration of the benefits of eating food produced locally.

Coordinated by the Sustainable Heights Network, Local Food Week will feature programs and events Oct. 1–5, followed by a fun and educational Festival of Local Food on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Grace Lutheran Church, 13001 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights.

Plans for the week include specials featuring exclusively local food at restaurants, such as Nighttown and Brennan’s Colony; the screening of a film about the local food movement; presentations on sources for local food, such as CSAs (community-supported agriculture programs) and farmers markets; demonstrations and workshops on growing and preserving your own food; cooking demonstrations and menus for seasonal eating; and activities for kids.

The local food movement is a growing, collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies. Benefits cited by local food advocates include fresher food (which tastes better and has greater nutritional value), stronger local economies, preserving open space by enabling local farmers to stay in business, promoting crop diversity, and eliminating the negative environmental impact of long-distance food transporting.

Participating organizations include The Ohio State University Extension, the Heights Community Garden Network, and Food Not Lawns, Cleveland.

Food Not Lawns, Cleveland was founded on the belief that “growing our own food creates thriving human and animal habitat, radically alters our relationship to the land where we live, increases our health and well-being and creates community one yard at a time,” according to Mari Keating, founder and Heights resident.

Also participating in Local Food Week is the new food magazine Edible Cleveland. “We created Edible Cleveland to tell stories about our region's food and the people who produce it,” said Noelle Celeste, publisher and Heights resident. “We believe that the more people think about what they eat, the better. So we're excited to support Local Food Week to celebrate our community's local, seasonal food.”

David Ernat, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, said, "Cleveland Heights has the potential to be a change agent not only for Greater Cleveland but also for many communities in Ohio and beyond. Grace Church is supportive of the many organizations and people who work together for the common good."

If you or your organization would like to participate in Local Food Week, or volunteer to help with this event, e-mail SustainableHts@gmail.com or call 216-264-6640.

Jeff Coryell

Jeff Coryell is a community volunteer and member of the steering committee of the Sustainable Heights Network, the board of FutureHeights, and the board of Reaching Heights. He is helping to plan Local Food Week.

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 12:52 PM, 08.28.2012