On Saturday the conference was in full swing and the sessions that were offered were varied and relevant to journalism and to sustainability. The session I choose was not even a choice, but a directive. The session hosted by Michell Ferrier was on the connections and opportunities between local food and journalism. Anything that has food in the title sure is persuasive.
The group was diverse with journalists, professors, new media entrepreneurs, self described citizens, students and techies. The conversation veered from the local food industry into the heart of journalism and its connection to a well informed and healthy public.
The local food phenomenon has made many people aware of the positive benefits to eating local. The cost of transportation, inefficient packaging and the damage to the health and taste of food transported from all corners of the earth have brought the idea of sustainable living from the theoretical to the dinner plate. Local food not only benefits the minds and bodies of those who eat it, but also helps the local community become more strengthened as money stays in the community instead of flowing out of town, or out of state.
The session focused on the use of food and local producers of food and the concept of engagement in the community. Food as a gathering apparatus is well known, and no major human event takes place without someone snacking on pretzels in the background. The session touched upon the need for communities to have their stories told and the need for media to cover what is happening on the local level.
One suggestion that was given was to use Festivals that celebrated the local community's speciality. Festivals could be used as a gathering of social import as well as a celebration of all things local. One participant gave the idea of using Salmon as the focal point for Pacific Northwest Festivals.
After the session was over I stayed to talk about what Sustainable Seattle is planning for this year and I was even interviewed for the Journalism that Matters live stream about how journalism and healthy communities are inextricably linked. Sustainable Seattle also made some connections to local media sources and possible collaborative efforts may be the fruit of this labor.