UNCW S.E.L.F . UNCW S tudents E ating L ocal F oods. What is UNCW S.E.L.F ? . UNCW S.E.L.F is a community movement originating in the Public Sociology Senior Seminar class dedicated to bringing awareness to the UNCW community about: -access to local food
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UNCW S.E.L.F. UNCW S tudents E ating L ocal F oods
What is UNCW S.E.L.F ? UNCW S.E.L.F is a community movement originating in the Public Sociology Senior Seminar class dedicated to bringing awareness to the UNCW community about: -access to local food -promoting a better relationship between local farmers and consumers in the 6 county region of New Hanover, Brunswick, Bladen, PenderColumbus and Robeson Counties
Problems: Economic, Political, Social & Environmental Strains our local economies Food travels 1500 miles on average The corporate food chain is so long no one can be sure of where or how their food was grown 1 in 4 people suffer from food poisoning every year Alternative: Local Food System Implies pesticide free Know your farmer; know your food Sense of community Economic security Lower environmental impact The Current Food System
Why local? 1. Locally grown food tastes better 2. Local produce is better for you 3. Local food preserves genetic diversity 4. Local food is GMO free 5. Local food supports local farm families 6. Local food builds community 7. Local food preserves open space 8. Local food keeps your taxes in check 9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife 10. Local food is about the future “preserving farms and food for tomorrow” (Adapted from Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)
130 Other Universities are buying locally…. Here are just a few of the schools… North Carolina State University Duke University Columbia University Princeton University Yale University Georgetown Law Center Dartmouth College
What about UNCW? • UNCW buys, on average, 5% of its produce sold in Wagoner Hall locally from a NC Distribution Center in Pittsboro, NC. They have expressed preliminary interest in increasing what they buy locally; however there are many regulations they must follow. • Aramark- UNCW’s food service provider is committed to supporting the local economy and sustainable practices
Southeastern North Carolina Food System http://people.uncw.edu/hossfeldl/
The Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems (SENCFS) Project is a partnership of public and private institutions and agencies among six counties along and adjoining the I-74 corridor east of I-95. Southeastern NC is the most ethnically diverse region in North Carolina and in Rural America; it is also one of the three major regions of persistent poverty in North Carolina. The SENCFS includes both rural and urban counties in order to maximize market opportunities and profits from the sales of local farm products for both local and regional markets. Please join us in making available local food a reality in Southeastern North Carolina. New Hanover Brunswick Pender Columbus Robeson Blender
Community Food Assessment • Examines community food issues and assets in order to create a more viable, local food system • In order to understand food distribution in New Hanover County and the elements of the current food system, we assessed 4 parts of the Food System: • Farmers • Restaurants • Food security • Mapping the distance low income residents travel to • affordable food
These are the products currently made available by surveyed farmers in the six county region.
These are sustainability factors that were included in the survey, relative to farming practices. Farmers were asked to rank them accordingly.
Avenue of Product Sales Majority of producers utilize multiple-sale strategies in order to optimize farm profits.
Needs of Farmers • Insurance • Better Communication • Advertising • Transportation
What some local farmers have to say… “… farming is not an overnight (process), you just don’t snap your fingers and you got potatoes or beans or what have you… it takes time… and Mother nature is always unpredictable… you never know, there ain’t no guarantees…” “…we need more advertisement and more than two farmers markets…a lot of people don’t know where the markets are, the state could put more signs…”
Price and freshness/quality of the product were the most important factors to restaurants Interest in an Institutional Buying System by Restaurant Type 84% of independently owned restaurants and 76% of franchises were interested in an institutional buying system
Local Restaurants, Local Foods … what’s the hold up? “Local vendors are outrageously expensive” When asked about factors that prevent them from buying locally, restaurants cited cost as a major concern. Transportation/delivery of products is another concern. Chefs must be able to have food delivered to the establishments, but local vendors are unable to provide this service. “I don’t have the time in the day to pick up products across town,” voiced one buyer.
Of the restaurants that buy locally, 69% buy seafood locally (with our close proximity to the ocean) and 69% buy produce locally • It is possible that more restaurants would buy local if they had better access to information as nearly half (47%) hear about local sources from word-of-mouth or a personal friend
What are they saying? • “Local seems to be expensive…it’s a wait and see game with produce, just when you think because summer is coming around produce will be cheap, the prices go up” • “Sometimes you’ll get someone knocking on the door with basil and we’ll take it” • “It all depends on the insurance, you haven’t asked me anything about that- you get a small seafood company that has limited amount of bondage so if there is ever a law suit, the small company will not be able to back me up” • “If its unique stuff we’ll make it work”
What Can We Do? • Ask the restaurants in your area if they support local foods…and support them! • More money spent in the local economy means a stronger economy for everyone! www.buyappalachian.org www.charlottelocalfood.com www.organicconsumers.org
Research Methods for Food Security • A community food assessment, a modified USDA survey, and in-depth interviews were used as the means of collecting data for the research. • The research conducted was exploratory and descriptive in its nature.
The average annual salary reported among respondents was $8,516 or less with almost half reporting they earned $5,000 or less per year • In correlation with the average income, 76% on the residents reported not always having enough money to buy the food that they want and need
When asked whether or not they were ever worried that their food would run out before they received more money to buy more, 70% of the respondents in the low income areas reported that this was sometimes true • The percentage of people who claimed this was often true, 17%, remains higher than those who answered never true, 13%. This is an indicator that income is a social stressor for these low income residents, along with accessibility to transportation and proximity to high quality, cost efficient foods
68% of the respondents said that there are foods that have been eliminated from their diet because of cost, transportation or availability. • The food group that is most eliminated from the diet of the low income residents is fruit. These are foods which spoil easily and are not readily available in cans or frozen.
Food Security as a Social Justice Issue • The research examines food security needs of low income residents in Wilmington, North Carolina • These issues include limited transportation, proximity to high quality and cost efficient foods and the burden that low income places on the respondents
Method Selected 3 Low-Income neighborhoods in New Hanover County: Houston Moore Area (HM) North Side Area (NS) Carolina Beach Road (CB) – Large Latino Population Mapped Proximity of Neighborhoods to Supermarkets: Analyzed Bus Routes to Supermarkets Documented Experiences on Bus Routes Measured Frequency of Bus Arrivals and Travel Time Documented Observations Compared the accessibility of super-markets to a wealthy, gated-community
Residents in the Study Area are more reliant on public transportation and have less vehicle ownership than New Hanover County Residents as a whole • Residents in the Study Area are more diverse and represent more Minorities than New Hanover County as a whole
Findings • Buses Readily Serve Low-Income Neighborhoods • Bus Stops are dangerously close to busy roads; many not covered • Some buses run less frequently; fewer stops throughout neighborhoods • Stops at intersections that are NOT pedestrian friendly (no cross walks or walking signals) • Median travel time was 25 minutes one way • Buses very crowded; little room for groceries
UNCW S.E.L.F. Activities • Met with Aramark, Campus Food provider to discuss BUYING LOCAL for UNCW • Presented to SGA • Presented at the Inaugural Carolina Sustainability Conference and the UNCW Sustainability Teach-In • Presented findings to City Council • With the campus dietitian, planned two on-campus Farmers’ Markets • Presented our research at the Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Symposium in Boston! • Worked on the Community Garden at Sunset South • Helped plan Community Gardens at WRAAP and the Northside Resource Center
Don’t Forget! • River Front Farmers’ Market • Now Open! Saturdays from 8:00-12:30 • Community Garden Kick-off! • May 11th 5-7 pm Northside Resource Center