This is the Food section of the Chapel Hill Energy Descent Action Plan
Though there are two natural and organic food vendors, Chapel Hill, is dependent on imported food. One half of 1% of food consumed wihin Chapel Hill is produced locally. Production of livestock food, except chickens, within the town limits is illegal. Agriculture has been continuing its rapid decline in North Carolina and in Orange County. Since 1996 Orange County has lost over 11,000 acres of active cropland, its family farms are disappearing and developments are popping up everywhere.
Much of what we consume has travelled great distances, is saturated with pesticides and other chemicals, and is grown in ways that deplete rather than build soils. Even if we choose organic, there is a very high chance, if we shop in Chapel Hill, that the organic food we are buying has been grown far away, with the resultant environmental impacts of transporting it over long distances to reach us. Food is one of the basic cornerstones of life, as oil prices steadily increase, we will discover how dependent we have become on a totally undependable system. Fossil fuel dependent food production and distribution contributes to Global Climate Change.
By 2021, Chapel Hill has made the transition from dependency to self reliance. Food growing has become an integral part of life in the town. All landscaping in the town comprises of edible plants, fruit trees line the streets, all parks and greens have become food forests and community gardens, and every lawn contains a food garden or is a pasture for livestock. The resurgence in food production had great benefits for the community. People rediscovered old varieties, and began once more to save and exchange seeds. As peoples’ diets improved with more and more fresh vegetables, and people enjoyed the exercise of making a garden, so health increased and common illnesses decreased. People are now more aware of the seasons, and a vibrant local economy in local honey, vegetables, fresh fish and poultry and fruit has now replaced the monoculture of the supermarket so popular in 2005.
Currently In PlaceEdit
Chapel Hill is a progressive town and has already implemented many steps toward sustainabale food such as:
- An Open Space Think Tank event (Similar to the transportation/energy summit hosted by SURGE in April), inviting all those involved in food in Chapel Hill and Carrboro? is held to identify an organization, municipal entity, or person who will serve as a point-person/organization whose mission will be to promote local food by coordinating already existing activities by farmers, food vendors, restaurants, organizations, individuals, and government. Furthermore, at the event, established and new recommendations are discussed and included in this plan.
- A Local Food Partnership is formed as a follow up to this meeting. Made up of interested parties and representatives of the various sectors in Chapel Hill with an interest in food, the Partnership serves a few roles. Firstly it is useful for ongoing discussion about food issues, secondly it facilitates the design of local food networks, and thirdly it gives profile to this work.