The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Staff Editorial

As growing support for the local foods movement at Grinnell becomes gradually more apparent—the local foods COOP recently made its biggest sale to date and a student initiative passed to introduce more local food to the dining hall—the decade dormant organization, GALFA, appears to be making a come back as well.

The re-birth of the Grinnell Area Local Foods Alliance (GALFA) is essential not only to Grinnell College but to the Grinnell community as a whole, since it connects faculty, staff, students, community members and farmers interested in supplying and eating locally grown food.

Aside from providing a much needed forum for intra-community communication, GALFA also fills an essential logistical niche that will hopefully substantially empower our local foods movement. As mentioned in the GALFA article in the Community section (p.5), farming is a full-time job—and so is marketing. What hinders most organic or small-business farmers is the difficulty of connecting producer and consumer.

GALFA has the potential not just to market local foods to a variety of consumers—from individual community and college members to a variety of local institutions—but also to provide the infrastructure many small-business farms lack. This kind of support could include coordination of food transportation and preservation. However, it also extends to advocating contract based relationships between small farms and institutions like Grinnell College Dining Services and Grinnell area public schools.

Although the purpose of a “networking” collective like GALFA might initially seem unclear, what it actually represents is the first of many steps necessary to change the system that dictates how we obtain our food. And considering that the founder of GALFA is Grinnell’s own Jon Andelson, Anthropology, we can only hope that Grinnell College will take this opportunity not just to connect with its own community in a profound and innovative way, but also to further a movement with implications both environmental and nutritional.

As a wealthy college in the middle of America’s heartland, we are in a unique position to affect positive change in something as fundamental and necessary as how we eat.

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