BoroGreen, a grass-roots environmental group in Hillsborough, held a “Discover Food: Explore, Experience, Engage food conference in the beautifully preserved Coach Barn at Duke Farms on Sunday March 9th. The response from both the attendees and the vendors was so positive that BoroGreen will continue to reinforce the concept of “Buy Local” to strengthen our local economy. The conference was set up like an indoor farmers’ market with the added benefit of a gorgeous setting. BoroGreen is planning more onsite trips to local farms and vendors similar to the enjoyable Lima Farms tour last summer and will be sending surveys to attendees and our newsletter subscribers to generate more ideas.
As Heidi Cyr, the conference planner, explained, “Our main goal with the Discover Food conference was to empower. That one word encompasses so many things: we wanted to help make connections, to show how even small actions can have a great impact on our and on our neighbors' lives. We wanted to present new ideas, to spark interest in unfamiliar concepts. We wanted to get people talking to each other, and they did.”
Jim Weaver, owner of Tre Piani Restaurant, enthusiastically talked about the health and environmental benefits of using locally produced foods. Melina Macall, a Cloud Institute Fellow and food activist, talked about what choices everyone can make to be more proactive about the food they eat.
Attendees could taste chili from Lima Farms, organic cold cuts from Applegate Farms, artisan salami from Brick Farm Market, vegan coconut pudding from Rawfully Tempting, kale salad from Basil Bandwagon, as well as delicious foods from Fulper Farms, Beechtree Farm, VonThun’s Country Farm Market, Foodergies & Food Family Health, Dogwood Farms, and Blue Moon Acres. Other vendors such as Norz Hill Farm & Market explained when their market will be open and what they will have to offer. Wegmans and Brick Farm Market provided gift cards and reusable bags as sponsors. Attendees were presented with ideas ranging from raising chickens and bees, preserving foods, to feeding the hungry.
BoroGreen Founder, Thuy Anh Le and current BoroGreen President, John Beggiato expressed how energized they were with the positive interaction between the conference exhibitors and the participants. “This is the kind of Buy Local outreach that connects local businesses with their customers in an entertaining and concrete way. Duke Farms and the Montgomery Environmental Commission/Sustainable Montgomery are great partners to work with on projects that link residents to nearby farms and food sources, which strengthens the local economy.” Duke Farm’s mission statement is “to be a model of environmental stewardship and to inspire visitors to become informed stewards of the land”. To join BoroGreen and sign up to receive our newsletter, email email@example.com. Join our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/borogreen/ and visit us at www.borogreen.org.