Local Food - This week on NH Public Radio

From NHPR's website:

"This week on The Exchange we bring you Eating In, a weeklong series on food in the Granite State. We’ll look at some of the major issues around our food system. We’ll look at the economics of our food supply from farms to restaurants. We’ll examine the debate over organics and the trend of eating more locally and also look at localism efforts in our state . And we’ll also explore concerns about food safety. As always, you're invited to join the conversation: call us during the show at 1-800-892-6477, e-mail us at exchange@nhpr.org, or post a comment on our website, www.nhpr.org. "

The "fun" of agriculture and local food.....

“Local food” is a rural issue connecting healthy living, environmental sustainability, recreation and tourism, and community well-being. As a concept, “local food” highlights a paradox of modern rural life in New England. While local food is often touted as an important ingredient in healthy living, environmental sustainability, and community well-being, it is largely inaccessible to rural people due to cost or distance.

Complicating this paradox is the fact that local food distribution systems such as farm-based agritourism, home-based hobby farming, farmers markets and community supported agriculture (CSAs) are marketed and perceived, in part, as venues for recreation and tourism. I want to learn more about the relationship between farms, recreation, tourism, and local/regional food systems. For instance, can recreational ventures such as pick-your-own orchards or maple sugar operations be springboards into a local food network? Can agritourism, as a community and economic development strategy, promote food security? Do tourism and recreation threaten traditional ideas of farm-based sustainability and identity?

With the help of my colleagues at the Center for Rural Partnerships at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, I've arrived at "agrileisure,” a theoretical concept with roots in a variety of perspectives, including multifunctional agriculture, serious leisure, interactional community, sense of place, and play. Agrileisure extends the conversation beyond on-farm agritourism to include off-farm issues of local and regional sustainability, the agriculture/community interface, and tangential agricultural activities such as hobby farming and homesteading.

This blog will be an exploration of the concept of Agrileisure: what it is, how we do it, and its relevance to rural America. This blog is meant cover a lot of ground, and so I need your help - feedback, ideas, stories, questions, and conversations. This site will undergo some design changes in the next few days - so stay tuned!