Homer Farmers Market: Farmers create diverse local food system

I had an inspiring conversation recently with Carolina Behe of the Inuit Circumpolar Council after she presented on a huge study regarding Inuit food security issues. It was interesting to hear how people who can’t depend on Safeway see their food system.

One of the main lessons I walked away with was that true food security does not depend on long supply chains. It relies on the direct supply from the area around the people. In the Inuit tradition, that means land and sea and all it provides.

We have that to a certain degree here as well. July is the season of dipnetting and August is the season for berry picking. The land and sea provide a great deal. But here we have two other elements: farmers and grocery store food.

Our farmers here are not part of a huge supply chain. They represent food security for our community, another aspect of strength in questionable times. Grocery stores are not evil, but when it comes time to choose where you put your dollar, you can make a choice. You may not have noticed the local section back in the veggie aisle at Save-U-More, but it gives you the opportunity to shop like you normally do while supporting a farmer in your community at the same time.

Now is the time for stocking up on the harvest. Turn those cucumbers into pickles, those tomatoes into sauces. If you visit Farmer Bob’s stand on Ocean Drive you will see he has the pickles already jarred up for you and tomatoes on sale. If you hit the Oceanside Farm stand out East End Road you will get inundated with cabbage and cauliflower, kale and lettuce mixes, red onions and white, tomatillos and garlic.

The variety that our farmers are providing is impressive to say the least. You can see it online at the Alaska Food Hub as well as at the Homer Farmers Market on Saturdays and Wednesdays. The part our local farmers play in creating a diverse local food system for our community is vital.

So make a point this week of supporting the local farmers that support you.

The Market is open on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. too as well as Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Ocean Drive.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.