Maple City Market: Proud Sponsor of Goshen's Share the Bounty Week
By Laura Bruno
Maple City Market played an active role in Goshen's Share the Bounty Week, which ran from November 18-23, 2013. This week was a collaboration among
the Goshen Farmers Market, The Window, Maple City Market, Transition Goshen, Church Community Services (CCS) and other organizations committed to making healthy, local food more accessible in Goshen and Elkhart County. We had a great lineup of events, including several community dialogues and a Harvest Celebration at the Goshen Farmers Market.
Maple City Market sponsored one private and two public screenings of the film “A Place at the Table” – a documentary that explores pressing issues related to hunger in America. Proceeds from the showings benefited The Window and CCS. Anyone who missed the public showings and discussions can still watch the film on Netflix, purchase a DVD, or contact MCM to arrange another group showing at Art House theater on Main Street. We encourage local organizations and churches to educate their members about this current crisis in America and our own community, so that we can all work towards solutions.
The screenings of “A Place at the Table” helped to springboard discussion about close relationships among obesity, poverty, and ill health. Over the years, costs of organic, nutrient-dense, whole foods have increased, while costs of processed, often toxic and health-robbing junk food have dropped. “A Place at the Table” draws attention to the ripple effects of this situation on education, job performance, health crises, self-respect, and community resilience.
MCM staff and Board members have begun to ask, “How can we make a greater difference in our community through education and accessibility?”
Much of Share the Bounty Week explored similar questions, especially at a World Cafe event hosted by The Window and facilitated by Bienvenido Community Solutions. This event provided an opportunity for networking and dialog among area food practitioners and food banks, home and community gardeners, organic farmers, volunteers, educators, and local politicians.
An EcoPAX panel discussion at Goshen College focused on raising awareness about food insecurity in Goshen, and panelists and audience members discussed positive solutions already happening like community gardens and a growing local food movement. Topics related to genetically modified (GMO) foods and the corporate takeover of seeds also highlighted issues related to food sovereignty and the right to access healthy, organic foods free of toxic pesticides and herbicides.
The EcoPAX panel also touched upon the delicate balance and multiple systems required for our current food system, as well as vulnerabilities inherent in such a complex system of delivery and distribution. We began to recognize that in cases of delivery disruption, food insecurity would quickly affect more than just “the poor.” Supporting local farmers and a strong local food shed seem of increasing importance in today's challenging world. Maple City Market views this area as one in which we can play a leading role.
Share the Bounty Week culminated with Transition Goshen's “Open Space” meeting for strategizing greater local food security, with a goal of raising awareness about the need for healthy, local foods, as well as enthusiasm and commitment for radically increasing community access to them. The wealth of farm land, knowledgeable farming and gardening backgrounds in Goshen and the greater Michiana area, offer a huge opportunity for Elkhart County to prevent people from “falling through the cracks.” Whether through community gardens, local farmers, education or community outreach, possibilities abound for great improvement in the area of local food security for all residents.
MCM looks forward to continued discussions, collaboration and action. We invite members to attend our monthly meetings and to submit ideas for ways to become more involved in our community. We can provide great service while also expanding our customer base and helping more of those in need. We welcome member feedback about anything related to food security and encouraging more people in Goshen to enjoy the resources we already provide.