Since it is the first of August, I thought it was appropriate to write about some food and farm events happening this month. That way, if you are interested, you can be prepared to celebrate ahead of time.
For starters, next week, August 7 – 13, 2011, is National Farmers’ Market Week. This is a week that United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack has officially designated to encourage consumers to visit their local farmers’ market.
The USDA estimates that there are now 6,132 farmers’ markets throughout the United States and that these markets generate more than one billion dollars in consumer spending each year. And, as the USDA points out, farmers’ markets are one of the easiest ways to not only buy locally, but to support the economic viability of our farmers and to help individuals eat more healthfully.
Perhaps one of the most famous (and certainly the longest running) farm events is the Farm Aid concert. This year, the concert will be held on August 13 in Kansas City, Kansas. This year’s line up includes board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews, along with Jason Mraz and Jakob Dylan.
The concert is once again featuring an all day-festival that features HOMEGROWN vendors, family farmed, local and organic food, and the HOMEGROWN Village that “give concertgoers a chance to meet farmers, get their hands dirty and learn how family farmers are growing good food, protecting our natural resources and connecting us to our roots.”
At the end of the month, Kitchen Gardener’s International (KGI) has declared World Kitchen Garden Day on August 28. As KGI describes it, “ Kitchen Garden Day is an annual, decentralized celebration of food produced on a human-scale. It is recognized each year on the 4th Sunday of August. It is an opportunity for people around the world to gather in their gardens with friends, family, and members of their local community to celebrate the multiple pleasures and benefits of home-grown and hand-made foods.”
I wrote about Doiron’s wonderful group and his work for Food Independence Day in July. KGI is a non-profit group focusing on healthier food and a healthier planet by promoting home or “kitchen” gardens and providing information and resources for those who do this.
Approximately 20,000 kitchen gardeners from over 100 countries help each other out via blogs, forums and social networking, and organize activities all over the world inspiring people to grow their own sustainable food.
It is spearheaded by enthusiastic and tenacious kitchen gardener, Roger Doiron, the driving force behind the successful Eat The View campaign that gathered 110,000 signatures to encourage the White House to replant a Kitchen Garden.