South Windsor FOOD* Alliance, Master Plan 2012-2013
*Families Organized for Optimal Development
Sub-Committee of: South Windsor Park & Recreation Commission
The South Windsor
“Healthy Food System Project”
1. Vision, Mission and Purpose
1.1 Vision: The Town of South Windsor will promote a Healthy Food System, by supporting local farms, farmers’ markets, community gardens, increased use of town owned land for farming, food waste composting, green roof projects,restaurants buying local produce, edible schoolyards, a food-hub and food co-op store.
1.2 Mission: The mission of the South Windsor FOOD Alliance is to create a Healthy Food System in town that will promote sales of locally grown foods and create new ventures to support local farming.
1.3 Purpose: The purpose of this project is to increase awareness regarding the health benefits of residents eating locally grown foods and to make the connection between where our food comes from and the local farms that have been an important link in the town’s history. We will propose this plan be included in the Town of South Windsor’s Master Plan for Conservation and Development. The project will be updated and reviewed annually to evaluate new ideas as they are presented to the South Windsor FOOD Alliance.
Definition of South Windsor FOOD Alliance
The South Windsor FOOD Alliance is a Task Force composed of town residents and members of three organizations: SW Park & Recreation Commission; SW Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Commission; and the SW Historical Society. The Task Force is evaluating methods to support local farming and local food producers in ways that will create new ventures and assist both farming and food production in South Windsor. It is a sub-committee of the Park & Recreation Commission.
Present Projects of SW FOOD Alliance
6.1 Winter Farmers & Artisans Market: This would provide access to SW residents for locally grown produce beyond the summer months. Our goal is to open the market in October and run through the month of April. While the selection would be limited, there are crops such as: beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, onions, kale, shallots, leeks, kohlrabi, collards, parsnips, spinach, swiss chard, and turnips that could be planted in the fall and harvested before the first freeze. Beyond that we could rely on locally prepared foods in jars/cans to be sold: tomatoes, goat cheese, beets, beans, and salsa. At the same time we would open this market to local artisans and food producers to sell locally produced goods: woodworking; jewelry; books; artwork; baked goods; holiday flowers; beef; beefalo; eggs; chicken; turkey; soaps-hand lotion; candles.
6.2 Local Produce at SW Schools project: Create Connections with local farmers to provide more produce to the school food service dept. In collaboration with the SW School System, we could assist the staff in creating a healthy food system using locally grown foods.
6.3 Community Gardens: While there is one community garden in town, it is always at gardening capacity. We are proposing a second location in town to open more gardening parcels for residents. In preparation for this project, and in collaboration with South Windsor High School, we have worked with three students who have already collected soil samples at one site. The samples have been analyzed by the State of CT lab (Windsor), to help us prepare the soil for the community garden.
6.4 Local Restaurants/Farm-to-Chef’s-Table: using local produce: As this project expands, we intend to meet with and encourage local restaurants to purchase more local produce for their menu. This can include listing local farm names on restaurant menus to inform guests of the local sources of food.
Long-Range Projects of SW FOOD Alliance
7.1 Development of a Food Hub/Co-Op store in South Windsor: Create a ‘membership’ food Cooperative store. A fee is charged for residents to join as members. This creates the start up funds needed to begin ordering food and supplies. When a member decides to leave the store they have a refund for any unused quarter of the season. Create a ‘governing board’ to operate and generate policies for the store. Our plan would include finding a suitable location, hiring a general manager for the store, hiring staff, and contacting food producers and farmers to establish ordering procedures. In addition, the general manager would also develop a marketing/advertising plan for the operation.
7.2 Increase undeveloped town-owned land leased to farmers: We would support appropriate town agencies, boards, and commissions to begin an evaluation process to determine if there is additional town owned property that could be leased to local farmers. Further, to explore the possible lease offerings to cover a three-year time period at reduced pricing to encourage additional farming in town. The proceeds from each lease could go to the SW Park & Recreation Commission and the SW Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Commission in order to support projects of the South Windsor FOOD Alliance.
7.3 ‘Green Roof’ project for town buildings: We could evaluate the possibility of developing a ‘Green Roof’ project for town owned buildings. The plantings can include vegetables, grass, or shade plants. Advantages: The plantings can help reduce heat and air conditioning costs and extend the life of HVAC; They retain rainwater at a high percentage and reduce water runoff and reduce stress on sewer systems; They can play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of CO2 released into the air; (SWHS has worked with GreenGrid Roofs5)
7.4 Explore Tax Credits offered to SW farm families: Presently there are some tax credit programs offered through the State of Connecticut. We would propose the town explore offering additional tax credits/tax incentives to encourage farmers to stay in town and to help attract new farmers to move into South Windsor.
7.5 Orchard Farming at Timothy Edwards Middle School– Students in Agriculture: The present orchard at TE could be ‘re-conditioned’ into a working orchard with some assistance from a local farmer. We could have students at TE help maintain the orchard and eventually harvest the fruit with shares going to both the farm and the school cafeteria.
7.6 Edible Schoolyard Project at Timothy Edwards Middle School: Some land could be designated as a schoolyard garden. This would enable students to grow vegetables for the cafeteria and increase awareness of locally grown foods.
7.7 South Windsor High School-Environmental Science Club: Build a partnership with the faculty and students in order to include projects of the SW FOOD Alliance into the curriculum for science students.
7.8 Develop a site/location for the ‘Center for Agricultural Economy’: This might include future development of the Priest Farm as the South Windsor Agricultural Center that could include barns used for: classrooms, SW Farm Museum, SW Tobacco Museum and a Farmers’ Market.
The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food, By Ben Hewitt
Bringing It To The Table, By Wendell Berry
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, By Michael Pollan
The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture and Sustainability in the
Gardens of Ethnic Americans, By Patricia Klindienst
Stuffed & Starved:The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, By Raj Patel
You Are What You Eat, By Gillian McKeith
The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick, By Robyn O’Brien
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, By Michael Pollan
Twinkie, Deconstructed, By Steve Ettlinger
The China Study, By T. Colin Campbell
Folks, This Ain’t Normal, By Joel Salatin
Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating, By Mark Bittman
The Good Food Revolution, By Will Allen