We have been handed down a proud tradition of growing, raising, hunting, and fishing for our food. But over the past 50 years, local agriculture has seen a dramatic decrease, and it has become very difficult for local people to access local foods. We hope to see the return of our local food economy. After all, wouldn’t you rather support local people with your food dollars?
A local food economy is not just about food. It’s about opportunity and economic sustainability. The more we can support local businesses, the more we build local wealth. Every dollar we spend in a local business has a big impact on our local economy. According to the American Independent Business Alliance: “On average, 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores.” (learn more here ) This is called the “local multiplier effect”. We understand that there is an opportunity to increase local independent businesses by increasing local food production, and through that effort, we can increase our community’s long term economic sustainability.
In short, the more local food production there is, the more jobs and economic opportunity there will be. This will increase local wealth and that will in turn help our other local businesses thrive. Increasing local food production has the potential to help everyone in our community. Because of that, a group of locals began to consider ways we could build a stronger local food system.
What is The Finland Food Chain?
The Finland Food Chain is a project that has come out of years of work between local producers, consumers, businesses, and organizations. The project began to come together in 2015 when a group of Finlanders applied for a grant to fund a local food system, and while that grant application was not approved, it started a group process that would grow into the project we now know as the Finland Food Chain.
After that first rejection, the group of Finlanders reassessed the project, reached out to more community members to help envision how a local food system in the Finland area could work, and applied for a Community Innovation Grant, this time through the Bush Foundation. This new grant was approved, and the Finland Food Chain was born.
The Finland Food Chain’s mission is: Cultivating a thriving local food economy by facilitating funding and resources to build knowledge, skills, and infrastructure for ourselves and future generations.
The Finland Food Chain’s vision is: The Finland Food Chain envisions an interrelated local food system where the community collaborates to respond to local needs, culture, resources, and climate.
Ok, but what does all of that really mean?
What that means is we have been provided funding to figure out how we can increase access to locally produced food. So far we have identified the following ways we can achieve this goal:
- Help local producers access local markets.
- Build new ways for local consumers to find and purchase food from local producers.
- Help local producers access local and affordable resources and materials such as locally produced animal feed, locally adapted seeds, collective ownership of processing equipment, and more.
- Increase consumer education: provide classes for local consumers on how to access, use, and preserve local food.
- Increase producer education: provide classes for local producers on locally adapted methods of farming, new foods they can grow, how to navigate food regulations, how to increase profitability, how to manage farm finances, and more.
- Facilitate cooperation between local producers.
- Increase synergy between local retail locations and local food producers.
- Help new local farmers learn how to be successful in our region.
But we are not limited to those methods. A major part of the Finland Food Chain’s goal is to increase the capacity to achieve these goals in our community. This means we want to engage the community in whatever way we can so that we can better serve the community’s needs for local food. If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact us today. Click here to send us a message.
Curious what the Finland Food Chain is all about? Check out these articles:
Maren Webb of Northern Wilds wrote an article about the local food movement in Finland that explains the classes that happened in February 2019:
Learning to Use Locally Grown and Wild Food
Julia Kloehn of the Lake County News Chronicle also wrote an article about the local food movement in Finland. This article also explores the Bush Foundation grant that was awarded to our project:
Finland to use $210K grant for building sustainable food system