The Gateway to MassGrown
Are you looking for a farmers market near you? Information on pesticides; a recipe? Maybe a Blueberry Dessert Festival? Well go no further, just visit mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/ and youâ€™ll find it. If it has to do with agriculture locally, youâ€™ll find what youâ€™re looking for.
At the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (MDAR) they are helping to keep Massachusettsâ€™ food supply safe and secure. Theyâ€™re also working to keep Massachusetts agriculture economically and environmentally sound. They do this in various ways.
The agency oversees many things and maintains several focuses throughout the year. However, â€œGateway to MassGrown farm products, specialty foods, and fun ag-tivities!â€ is front and center with the spring and summer seasons being the time to visit farmers markets, roadside stands, pick-your-own produce as well as festivals! Check out whatâ€™s going on close to you.
In 1993, a group of people committed to the idea that knowing where your food comes from made both good health and economic sense. Pioneered the Buy Local Groups which help connect farmers to their surrounding communities and vice versa. These groups have helped generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products which is also on the top of the agenda for the Boston Local Food Festival and the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts. You can check out this group at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/buy-locals.htm
MDAR also works closely with the Massachusetts Food Policy Council, who contracted with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to facilitate a statewide process leading to the development of a comprehensive strategic plan for the Massachusetts food system. Two key objectives of the Food Policy Council (FPC) are to increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods, and develop and promote programs that bring healthy Massachusetts-grown foods to Massachusetts residents. The current strategic planning process will take advantage of the many opportunities that have emerged during the past decade coinciding with the steadily increasing interest in local food production and consumption, direct marketing options, value-added processing, and diversified farms â€“ including those based in cities. Â www.mapc.org/massfoodplan
As you can see, local and sustainable is on the top of the priority list for the MDAR, just like it is for us local yocals! They will have a booth at the Boston Local Food Festival to help promote local food and farmers, but the MDAR commissioner, Greg Watson is particularly excited about attendees â€œhaving their taste buds enlightened.â€ The event is scheduled to highlight the impressive range of Bay State entrepreneurial food and farm businesses from Cape Cod to the Berkshires and the MDAR applauds these businesses that play a crucial role in the stateâ€™s food system.
This post was brought to you by Meagan Spencer of Big Eater, Small Body. Go check her out!