LocalHarvest Newsletter

Newsletter > Aug 17, 2003

Aug 17, 2003


Hello, and welcome to our newsletter! 

After a 3 month hiatus, I'm glad to be here again writing to you about 
what's new with LocalHarvest.  It took longer than expected this time, 
since I've been waiting until we could announce _a_big_one_ that I'm 
sure you will appreciate:  The new LocalHarvest Stores.

Read on for more details on what we've been up to, to visit our featured 
farm, and to learn about our new features, partnership, members, and more.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CONTENTS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 1) LocalHarvest Stores go Live
 2) Random Thoughts:  On LocalHarvest and Activism
 3) Featured Product:  Honey!
 4) Featured Member:  Kanalani Ohana Farm
 5) New Partnership:  NewFarm.org
 6) New Members

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1) LOCALHARVEST STORES GO LIVE
******************************


Now this one's a real biggie.

In addition to serving their local communities via CSA programs, direct
sales at farmers' markets, and other such venues, many of our members
offer some of their products via mail order.  Things like honey, coffee,
preserves, soaps, cheese, beeswax candles, herbs, sheepskins, and even 
farm crafts are usually produced by a family farm in quantities larger 
than their local markets can absorb, and are perfect for shipping through 
our very efficient postal service.  LocalHarvest now makes it easy for
people to buy these and other products directly form the family farms 
that produce them, via our new online catalog: The LocalHarvest Stores.

After years of planning and 3 months of development, I'm happy to announce 
our new LocalHarvest Stores, where our member farms can now sell their
products directly to you via the LocalHarvest.org Web site.  We launched
our Stores last Friday, August the 15th, with about 300 products from 
40 farms, including everything from jaboticaba and guava syrups to bison 
jerky, dried lavender bunches, corn husk dolls, and catnip kitty toys.   

More and more products will be made available in the next few weeks as 
more of our members sign up for our new ecommerce service, but even now 
and at this early stage, we already have a great and eclectic collection 
of hundreds of traditional and funky farm products that are sure to appeal 
to you or someone you know.

Although the LocalHarvest Stores makes it possible for people to buy
products from far-away farms, we want to encourage people to find the
closest producer of whatever they are looking for by customizing our 
catalog to your location, showing you the closest farms first, and 
displaying the distance between you and the farms so that you can know 
how many miles will the products that you buy through us travel before 
they arrive.  This is a unique feature which which will help us maintain 
the "buy as local as possible" approach that we want to promote with 
our catalog.

We are not including produce or fruits in our stores --with the exception
of a few highly regional and easy to ship products, like cranberries, for
example--, since we want to encourage people to buy their produce at 
their local Farmers' Market or through a CSA farm.  Mail order works 
best for value added products, and we reflect that in our catalog.

Visit our LocalHarvest Stores by clicking on the link below, and order
some of the great products that we feature, shipped direct to you by our
member family farms!



2) RANDOM THOUGHTS
******************
On LocalHarvest and Activism
============================
I'm not really interested in starting a blog, but I very much enjoyed 
writing the little piece on "Buying Local and Sustainability" in our 
previous newsletter: .
This piece did generate some interesting reader correspondence, which 
I always like, so I've decided to add a few paragraphs to each newsletter
from now on touching on some of the environmental/social/economic/agricultural 
subjects that my work brings me in touch with every day and that you might
find interesting.  

LocalHarvest is really an activism Web site disguised as a food Web site,
and adding this bit of commentary to our newsletters will make that fact 
a little more clear for our readers, and will hopefully incite you into
researching more about some of these issues, which affect both the health 
of our communities and the quality of the food we eat.

What we're aiming for, here at LocalHarvest, is to contribute our grain of 
sand towards building a better world not by just disseminating information 
about the issues, since lots of other people do a much better job at this 
than LocalHarvest can, (http://www.foodroutes.org is a good example) but 
by actively working to build the economic and information structures that 
will naturally lead our society in that direction. That's really what 
LocalHarvest's mission is all about.

Our current dominant food system weakens our communities economically
by draining out the capital that would, in a healthy local economy,  be 
recirculated among locally owned businesses.  For example, instead of 
having small grocery stores tended by their owners and selling local produce, 
where most of every buck spent stays in your community, we have large 
supermarket chains that pay their employees minimum wage and sell products 
grown with enormous environmental cost and shipped from thousands of miles
away.  You might gain some convenience by shopping there, but most of your 
dollar ends up in somebody else's pocket that with the people that actually 
grew, processed, and handled your product.  What happens when you keep 
spreading this model throughout our economy?  A nation of minimum wage 
earners working to enrich a few faraway investors, and not enough of a 
"base" to the economic pyramid to keep it standing for very long.  To have 
a truly strong nation, we need strong local economies, and this is 
achieved by having healthy small and medium locally owned businesses, not 
only in the food industry, but all across the board.


3) FEATURED PRODUCT
*******************
Honey
=====

Summer has been in full swing for a while now, and with it, bees all 
over the country have been busy collecting nectar from their local 
flowers and producing the myriad types of honey that we all enjoy so much.

Eating local honey is a great way to cure and prevent seasonal allergies.
The traces of local pollen present in the honey "immunize" the person
eating it to the allergens that are present in the local air.  Eating 
local honey is also an interesting way to sample the diverse flavors of 
the flowers growing in your area.  Here in California, for example,
we have great eucalyptus, star thistle, and orange blossom honey; Most
of the country has wildflower honeys, which vary in flavor quite
substantially, according to the local vegetation; and the east coast 
offers some great regional favorites, like buckwheat, sourwood, and 
tupelo honeys.

We list 234 honey producers all over the nation on the LocalHarvest.org 
Web site.  We're likely to list at least one close to you, so find them 
through our search engine, give your local beekeeper a call, and give 
it a shot at tasting the different varieties of honey that are being 
gathered in your area.

To learn more about honey and honeybees, check out our Honey page at:  



4) FEATURED MEMBER
******************
Kanalani Ohana Farm
===================
The Kanalani Ohana Farm is a beautiful bit of agro-jungle in Honaunau on 
the Kona side of the island of Hawaii. The farm is at 1600 feet with a 
gorgeous view of the ocean and Kealakekua Bay.  Their steep hillsides and 
ravines on the ancient slopes of the Mauna Loa are covered with coffee 
trees as old as 80 years, grandfather avocado trees, papaya, guava, 
coconut, orange, apple, fig, and flowering trees. 

The farm has gardens including the double spiral perennial vegetable garden, 
a labyrinth shaped garden, the mango terrace and the Senekedugu garden 
with annuals in it.  Melanie & Colehour, the owners, work both with and 
against the weeds, eating the edible ones, thanking them for the 
nitrogen-fixing that enriches the soil as well as pulling out and weed 
whacking them when they overwhelm the main crops.  Current work has been 
focused on putting in cover crops as well as interplanting ground covering 
vegetables amongst the trees.  The farm takes regular apprentices to 
help on the fields, and houses them in gazebo and/or cabin spaces. 

Kanalani Ohana primarily mail-orders their main crop - kona coffee!  They 
also offer a coffee CSA, where coffee lovers can subscribe to a yearly 
supply of the best Kona coffee, shipped once a month from Hawaii.



5) NEW PARTNERSHIP
******************
NewFarm.org
===========

The Rodale Institute is a global leader in organic agriculture, and is 
devoted to innovative agriculture research, outreach and training. The 
Institute works with people worldwide to achieve a regenerative food system 
that renews and improves environmental and human health.

The Institute's web site, www.NewFarm.org reaches a global community of food
producers and offers them the tools to exchange valuable farmer-to-farmer 
know-how.? NewFarm.org lets farmers share ideas and resources for crop and 
livestock production, direct marketing, local food systems, and 
community-building.

LocalHarvest.org and NewFarm.org are currently exploring ideas around 
offering each other's services to our respective members.  NewFarm.org 
is a great resource for farmers, and we invite our member farms to visit 
their Web site. 




6) NEW MEMBERS
***************
Since our last newsletter on May 5, Local Harvest has grown by a whopping
762 new members,  About half of them are direct additions into the Web site 
from the Internet, and about half are new members added through our recent
collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Since almost 800 listings is more that we can fit in this newsletter, we 
will not finish it this time with the customary list of the latest 
additions to our Web site, so I have put together for you a page on the 
site that shows them all in alphabetical order.



Look around and see if there's any new listings in your area!  And if you 
would like for us to keep you informed of any new local listings or upcoming 
events in your area, just sign up for our KeepMePosted email, through which 
we will send you a weekly update of anything new and close to you that we
learn of:  

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

  --Guillermo Payet
    Local Harvest


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