The Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council, together with RenewLV has held three community events on growing the region’s food economy this year. They have each felt like a booming success.
But recently we decided to measure that success, taking a survey of what attendees thought of our last event, a lunch/discussion that focused on urban agriculture and “joining the Lehigh Valley’s new food revolution” on May 29.
And the results look good. You like us!
Nearly everyone who responded to the survey, 95 percent to be exact — rated their experience as “good” or “very good.”
People sometimes ask, what are the actual outcomes from these events? We learned, quite a bit: 87.5 percent of the respondents said they had either met someone or learned something to help them move forward on a project, program or initiative.
Among those programs: the Rodale Institute’s Organic Allentown, the urban agriculture efforts at the Children’s Home of Easton, and the possibilities behind SPIN farming, as brought to life by one of the event’s panelists, the dynamic Linda Borghi. If you came to the event and something great transpired, but you haven’t told us about it, please do let us know.
The people who took our survey also expressed satisfaction that through the discussion portion of these events, organizations and citizens in the Lehigh Valley are actively working together, collaborating to improve the region’s health, economy and access to food.
The only downside: most of the people felt that there wasn’t enough time at the event for table discussions. That confirms what we’ve been hearing anecdotally from attendees since we began these events earlier this year. It’s reassuring to hear that folks value the collaborative time and have more ideas to discuss than time to discuss them as we move “from ideas to actions” in implementing the ideas in Buy Fresh Buy Local’s Assessment Report: Lehigh Valley Local Food Economy.
Knowing that 8.5 million people live in that big city 90 miles east of us (NYC), we can’t understand why the Lehigh Valley can’t do a better job of feeding and profiting from feeding some of those 8.5 million mouths. It is curious to us that food products that come from as far away as California and as close as Lancaster County drive by the Lehigh Valley on the way to large markets. We believe that we can be smarter about keeping our farmland as productive farmland.
Our next event will be a lunch/discussion on Thursday, October 29th, “Making Connections.” We’ll be taking a look at another facet of supporting food and beverage entrepreneurship and the ways that area farmers, food and beverage entrepreneurs and local producers can scale up their businesses by understanding the perspectives of distributors and institutional buyers. Judging from our survey, the idea of making connections is something that resonates with many of you. If you want to reserve your spot, (and space at these events is becoming more and more precious), please click here.
Thank you to everyone who has attended our events, everyone who took the survey, and all of our dynamic partners on the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council Founders Team (logos listed above), and especially, our sponsor, Samuel Adams, Brewing the American Dream.
We encourage you to support the work of the food policy council by finding the organization and the projects they are working on that resonate with you — and then supporting them with volunteer hours and donations. And if you’re a fan of the work RenewLV has been doing of convening stakeholders and hosting these high energy events to discuss matters of regional importance — whether it’s on food sustainability, farmland perservation, smart growth or smart transportation — please support us with a donation. Click here to make a contribution online, or send a check to RenewLV at 1337 E. Fifth St., Bethlehem, PA 18015.
Executive Director, RenewLV