Local Food Week kicks off Saturday
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013 at 5:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 8, 2013 at 5:17 p.m.
Alachua County will celebrate its first official Local Food Week starting Saturday, with local organizations such as Blue Oven Kitchens hosting a variety of events showcasing opportunities to buy local.
Local Food Week will run from Saturday to Feb. 16. Its goal is to engage the community in the area's local food economy and will kick off with a local food celebration from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. featuring live music and a cooking demonstration at the 441 Farmers' Market and a potluck and tour of the Porter's Community Farm.
The county's Office of Sustainability is helping oversee the week of events, said Sean McLendon, sustainability program manager. It is conducting research with the University of Florida that indicates the local food community is a powerful part of the regional economy.
Around 200,000 jobs statewide are dedicated to local food, with about 11,000 positions involved in Alachua County and its 10 surrounding counties, he said.
"People recognize more and more the multiplier effect of spending your dollars locally," he said. "The dollars you spend at a local business or for local food get recycled several times over rather than get exported out of the community somewhere else."
Stefanie Samara Hamblen, who publishes the Hogtown HomeGrown newsletter and is a founding board member of Blue Oven Kitchens, said she fills her fridge with produce from a local farmers' market every week.
"There's so much food available to us in this area, and it's a good opportunity to point out that people need to take advantage of it," she said of Local Food Week.
For a schedule of events, visit localfood.alachuacounty.us.