Food for thought: UVA class presents local food study

Okay all you local food fans...here's a must-attend event. On Tuesday, April 22 in City Hall chambers from 3pm to 5pm UVA profs Tanya Denckla Cobb and Tim Beatley and their students will present their latest findings on the "Charlottesville Glocal Food System."

According to a release, "the class' assessments are the next step in a longer-term community project to foster better links between local farms and community schools and organizations, food stores, restaurants and residents. Nine class teams have analyzed local farms, families, grocery stores, restaurants and community organizations."

What are the true costs of buying food from around the globe? How much food can we grow close to home? Is it enough to support us? And can we afford it? These questions and more will be addressed.

As Cobb points out, it was her very first class in 2005 that led to the creation of "EATLocal," a local grassroots group and listserve that serves as a network for local information about local food. In addition, she thinks the class also contributed to awareness of the need for, and development of the first "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" Guide, which was pioneered by the Piedmont Environmental Council.

"We envision our class working in partnership with the community," says Cobb. "...and every year undertaking new projects that help increase our local food security, assist our local farmers, and improve our local food economy."

Organizations to be featured include Wild Oats Farm, Blue Moon Diner, U.Va. Dining Services, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Chipotle, Jefferson Area Board on Aging, Feast!, the Foley Family and Roundabout Farm.

Organizers says the presentation is designed to encourage others to become active in the local food movement, and they say they want community feedback and hope to connect and partner with anyone interested in establishing a sustainable community food system.

Anyone who wants to get involved or seeks more information can contact Tanya Denckla Cobb at tanyadc@virginia.edu.