Where’s Food Alliance?: A Scavenger Hunt
Want to learn more about Portland’s local, sustainable food system in a fun and challenging way?! Join 100 other teams as they visit 30 locations across the greater Portland area and learn about Food Alliance and the many certified products, farms, ranches, processors and distributors who make up Food Alliance Certified supply chains!
The Food Alliance Scavenger Hunt allows teams of two to use a map and clues to find locations in Portland, retrieve supply chain trading cards, hear stories about certified products, and complete tasks to earn points and win prizes. Among the 12 supply chains featured in the scavenger hunt, is Burgerville’s very own Food Alliance Certified beef supply chain, which includes our partners Country Natural Beef and Fulton Distribution. Our Convention Center location is one of the stops along the way. Come by to learn more about our Food Alliance Certified beef supply chain as well as pick up a coupon for a free Tillamook cheeseburger with equal or greater purchase and a sample of our Fresh Strawberry Lemonade!
For more information and to register, please visit Food Alliance’s Web site at http://foodalliance.org/scavenger.
When: Saturday, April 10th, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Where: Portland Metro Area, Oregon. Morning check-in and afternoon prize event will occur at the Natural Capital Center (Ecotrust) at 721 NW 9th Ave., Portland, OR 97209
Cost: $35 per team or free to Food Alliance members
Dear Fellow Food Citizen,
In an essay published in the New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan made an acute observation. “What would happen,” he asked, “if we were to start thinking about food as less of a thing and more of a relationship?” That question captures the essence of the changes needed in our food system today.
The majority of our current food system presents us with food as a commodity like any other, an undifferentiated “thing” that is produced, processed, and placed on the market as cheaply as possible. Increasingly, food consumers are told to “just eat it!”
For a growing number of food customers, this system has lost its appeal. Many of us did not need to see the movie, Food Inc. to conclude that something was seriously wrong. A constant stream of media stories has awakened us to the problems related to treating food like a “thing,”—stories depicting how animals are sometimes mistreated, how individuals are sickened by E-coli, salmonella, and other contaminants that can cause serious illness and death, and how farmers and farm workers are marginalized along the way.
As a result, many consumers want a different relationship with the food they buy. They want to know where their food comes from, how it was produced, how farm workers were treated, if farmers were adequately compensated, how the animals were treated, and if there was good environmental stewardship all the way from field to table.
In short, food consumers want a relationship—an alliance—that extends all the way from their table to the farm that produced the food. And they demand full transparency and authenticity as part of that relationship.
For the past six years I have served on the Food Alliance board of directors because I believed it was one way that consumers could attain that kind of relationship. From its inception, the goal of Food Alliance was to be more than a third party certification organization—its goal was to build an “alliance” between consumers and producers.
That alliance was not only intended to assure consumers that food carrying the Food Alliance Certified seal was produced in accordance with a transparent set of sustainability standards that are constantly reviewed and enhanced as new sustainability practices emerge, but also to foster a trusting relationship between the farmers and ranchers that produced the food, the processors that prepared the food, and the consumers that eat the food.
Certainly, Food Alliance cannot be the answer to all of the problems in our current food system—those problems must be addressed on many different levels. But I am convinced that Food Alliance is making food more of a “relationship” and less of a “thing.” In doing so, Food Alliance will continue to make a major contribution to the evolution of a food system where farmers, ranchers, and their customers will join together as “food citizens” and advocate for the kind of policy changes needed to provide safe, healthy, affordable, great tasting food for all.
So what can you do right now, direct and tangible, to spur the evolution of this new food system? Make a generous contribution to Food Alliance!
Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and President, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.
P.S. Invest in a strong “alliance” between farmers, ranchers, and consumers, in a transparent relationship with the food you eat, and in a better food future. Thank you very much for your commitment to positive change in our food system, it is greatly appreciated.