Stuck Stories: Working With Retractable Ideas, Part 1 | Purple Wheat: Growing a New Food System Collaboratively | Creating A Culture of Food Safety in Local Food Systems
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INNOVATION NEWSWIRE

Winter 2016 | Volume 7

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The new year has given us the opportunity to reflect on how we can better share the most impactful and thoughtprovoking stories and issues with our expanding community. Each quarter we will take a deep dive into our three primary focus areas - Working Lands, Local Food, and Our Approach. President Joseph McIntyre introduces us to the first of two posts on how we work with the persistent stories that often shape the contours of the projects we facilitate. We then reflect on why collaboration is the single-most important ingredient in growing the local food system. Finally, we provide an update on the final rules of FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act and call upon small farmers to work together to create a culture of food safety in local food systems.

In This Issue

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Stuck Stories: Working With Intractable Ideas, Part 1

This is the first of two posts on how we work with the persistent stories that often shape the contours of the projects we faciliate. In this article, we look at the stories themselves. In our Spring Innovation Newswire we will look at how we work with them. One of the most consistent challenges we face in working with stakeholders are concepts and stories that come to be accepted as 'givens'. These stories/concepts become the boundaries around which what is thought be possible must be constructed.  California's drought has surfaced multiple conflicting narratives--ag uses too much water, urban users waste water, or environmental interests are preventing solutions. When mixed together, these conflicting narratives can lead to only place--gridlock.  Many of these narratives are stereotypes--generalizations about the character of other stakeholders that shape the way we think and feel about them. They tend to be based on our ideas about others and not direct experience.

Read On

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Purple Wheat: Growing a New Food System Collaboratively

Ask anyone on the street if they can name at least two types of tomatoes, and they'd probably throw out "Roma" and "cherry" without missing a beat. Can they list two different market classes or varieties of wheat? Are there even different varieties of wheat? In a way they'd be correct in thinking that there isn’t much diversity. The reason for this is in large part due to the success of the globalized, industrialized food system. It has caused the disappearance of many of the local mills, grain dryers, and other infrastructure that is needed to bring a new variety to the local marketplace. So even once a purple wheat variety is released and grown by a farmer, the road from the field to the oven will be an arduous one. That’s why collaboration is the single-most important ingredient in growing the local food system. We need spaces where the farmer can meet with the baker and the crop breeder and the lender and the policymaker. Because not only do we need to grow new crops, but we also need to grow new relationships and a new business ecosystem.

Read On

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Creating a Culture of Food Safety in Local Food Systems

There is an opportunity for small farms to come together to meet the growing demand for local food and to create a culture of food safety in local food systems. Through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and food safety certifications like GAP and GroupGAP, the FDA and the USDA are providing a bridge between buyers and sellers to enable more trust, cooperation and commerce. Local food advocates already know that local food is fresh, delicious, sustainable and safe. As more small farms join forces to educate themselves and their customers, share ideas and support each other to comply with federal food safety standards and obtain third party certification, there is hope that the industry will be more inclusive to small, sustainable farms.

Read On

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Ag Innovations
707-823-6111
aginnovations.org

101 Morris Street Suite 212
Sebastopol CA 95472

Ag Innovations cultivates the ideas and actions needed for healthy farms, communities, and ecosystems.




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