Franklin County Local Foods Council
Survey intended to collect input on locally grown items
Think locally, act vocally.
That’s the basic thrust behind a new survey, which is attempting to take the pulse of the Greater Columbus community on the ever growing – and often complicated – world of locally grown foods.
The Franklin County Local Foods Council is seeking feedback on the questionnaire – http://franklincountylocalfoodcouncil.org/survey/ – from residents, farmers, government officials, retailers and consumers about the current state of the local food system.
The council, which formed in December, wants to work in expanding, strengthening and maintaining a resilient and local food system.
“You know, this is sort of the first thing we wanted to do: hear from the people around the county about our work,” said Jill Clark, co-chairman of the local food council. “This is something we hope to do on a regular basis.
“It gives us that ground-truthing. This gives us another opportunity to hear what people are thinking.”
Composed of restaurateurs, farmers, distributors, government representatives and other industry professionals, the council is trying to lay the groundwork for self-sustaining local-foods paradigm.
But connecting the dots hasn’t been so easy, said Brian Williams, agricultural specialist for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. He offers staff support for the council.
The demand is there, from both the consumer and grower, but sometimes the investment funds are not, he said. Often the merchandise is available but there’s no way to transport it to its destination.
“I think once we get this structure set up, things will really be able to move forward,” Williams said.
One of the more promising developments in the regional food world is that many nearby counties are setting up food councils, Williams said.
One of the goals is to create a network of local food hubs to set up distribution points to the broader region, he said.
Yet, it has been challenging to find both seed money and long-term investment dollars from the public and private sectors, he said.
“We want them to be aware that local food is not a fad,” Williams said. “It’s economic development.