Call To Action

The evening started as many wonderful evenings do- at Lucia's

We arrived to a room of farmers, chefs, food advocates, and food lovers- each and every one of us- personally greeted by Chef Lucia.

Chef Lucia Watson at our food event for Minnesota Premiere 7/12/12 (Photo Susan Yao)

 Chef Lucia Watson is one of the premiere chefs in America, and is a boon to agriculture in the region- as she sources her menu from over 80 local farms in Minneapolis. I went back for seconds, and would have been back for thirds if it hadn't been for all of the engaged conversation. 

Some of the impossibly good food at Lucia's (Photo S. Yao)

Tonight was the premiere of American Meat in Minnesota, and to be clear, Minnesota is at the epicenter of the local food movement. 

Following the food, we drove to Edina Cinema, where the movie got started a bit after 7. 

The people in the theater were fully engaged, and clearly, the community is one that is pushing for change in agriculture in the region and in America.

Following the screening, we had a conversation featuring strong voices in agriculture of Minnesota... 

Chef Lucia discusses the importance of cooking. John Mesko, Jan Joannides, Todd Lein, and Graham Meriwether listen. (Photo S. Yao)

Jan Joannides is a key liaison between sustainable farmers and the Univesity of Minnesota via Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, Todd Lein supplies many people with locally produced grass-fed beef at Thousand Hills Cattle Co.  and John Mesko changed his life to become a farmer and along the way became the Executive Director of Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. Chef Lucia- who hosted the aforementioned food event- also partook in the discussion.

The conversation ranged from the cost of local food, to the need for education about cooking, to the challenges of sourcing organic grain in hog production. One of the most poignant moments was when John Mesko told the story of how he became a farmer. A decade or so back, John's daughter had serious health issues that caused the family to re-evaluate what they ate. The family's change of diet set off a string of life changing decisions which led the Meskos to start farming.

John's pragmatic, passionate tone rang through the theater as the night concluded- we can no longer separate what we say from what we do. We must truly make every effort to support the type of agriculture that our community wants. He gave each person 3 actionable items-

1) To tell a friend about our film.

2) Meet a farmer and buy food directly from a farmer or a locally sourcing business.

3) To cook, or learn to cook and cook a meal.

John Mesko gives the room a stirring call to action (Photo S. Yao)

The applause and sense of purpose was palpable. As a culture, we're ready to align our actions with what we've been saying we will do. We're ready to take action to build an agriculture that will provide farmers with a livable wage, and build local food systems that will feed us and sustain our communities.


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published this page in Ruminations 2012-07-18 12:45:29 -0400