Dear Friends of AIM,
Happy New Year! Welcome to the second quarterly edition of AIM’s Planting our Future Newsletter. I hope 2019 is off to a wonderful start for you. Winter is in full swing at our farmers markets, and I love trying out seasonal recipes featuring the bounty of California-grown citrus and winter squash.
This past week, I attended the EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove, where I interacted with farmers and other community agriculture leaders from across the country. It was particularly inspiring to see the next generation of beginning farmers and ranchers exchange ideas with seasoned producers. Buying food from locally grown sources is just the beginning of a better food system. We also must consider how it is grown and the effects on our land, animals, and employees.
In pursuit of a better food system, AIM recently launched a series of initiatives focused on experiential learning at our markets. We began our Chef’s Corner culinary series at our Marin Farmers Markets, where chefs from the Cooking School at Cavallo Point and NextGenChef instructed market shoppers on ways to prepare healthy meals using seasonal market ingredients. This past weekend, we also launched Harvest Talks, a speaker series where farmers, food purveyors, and community leaders share their stories of ways they are creating responsible food production and food access. Our first talk occurred at the Grand Lake Farmers Market, where I had a conversation with Charles Farrier, owner and founder of Crumble and Whisk Patisserie and Asia Hampton, Director of Phat Beets Produce. Charles and Asia described the role of race, ethnicity, and gender in small-scale food production and direct marketing to a group of engaged market attendees. We’re continuing to explore these themes and ways our farmers markets and agricultural systems can be inclusive and relevant to all. If you have other suggestions for speakers – including yourself – I’d love to hear from you.
Lastly, our efforts are advancing in developing the permanent Marin Farmers Market and Center for Food and Agriculture, our world-class community gathering place dedicated to celebrating and educating about local and regional food and farms. You can review the project goals and elements on our new web page. Stay tuned for more details including our updated business plan, communications campaign, and ways that you can provide advice and input! We have hired Equity Community Builders as our Project Manager and are continuing to work with the County of Marin in a productive public-private partnership. Several weeks ago, I met with the Marin Cultural Arts Commission and their members were delighted by our agricultural educational programs and The Rollin’ Root mobile market, and look forward to supporting our vision of infrastructure improvements to create the farmers market of the future.
We appreciate your support!