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Vashon Food Security Group Offers Food Preservation Tools to Community

These are not the best of times—there’s enough bad news to make us all, either pull our hair out or just pull the covers over our heads, roll over and groan.  The pictures coming out of Japan after the recent earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis are terrifying and remind us of how vulnerable we all are to the forces of nature.  The rolling revolutions in the Middle East are triggering higher gas prices affecting the cost of everything that must be transported from point A to point B using anything except a horse, llama, bicycle or burro.  A direct result of these energy costs is that food prices are spiking again. 

A recent op-ed piece in the Seattle Times(4/3/11) by Neal Peirce highlights one of my favorite books: Small is Beautifulby E. F. Schumacher and reminds us that we may have reached the point of what Grandma use to call “too big for our breeches”. Just because we are able to invent a lot of really cool stuff (nuclear power plants, deep-water drilling rigs, credit-default swaps, etc.), does that mean we SHOULD?  We seem to be getting ourselves into trouble when we construct huge systems that cause huge damage if something goes wrong.  Washington Post columnist Steven Perlstein calls it “low-probability, high-impact events” and reminds us that those events have plagued “human experience since Noah and the flood.”

Mr. Peirce suggests we apply one of Schumacher’s prescriptions: “smallness within bigness” to all of our systems.  In the area of our food systems that would mean more small (organic!) gardens and farms in and around population centers resulting in fresher, healthier food on one hand and less reliance on fossil fuels since we will have shortened the supply line.  Growing our food is the first step toward self-reliance—the next step is preserving and storing that food so that it is there in lean times.

Living on a small island presents us with both great advantages and interesting challenges.  We are lucky that there are groups working in many areas that need to be addressed: green energy, housing, jobs, water conservation, food security and more.  As part of the Vashon Food Security Group, sponsors of the annual Food Preservation Fair, I would like to suggest one way that many of us can become more self-reliant in our own lives.  We can preserve food!

Thanks to a grant from Sustainable Vashon, the Vashon Food Security Group has put together an Equipment Lending Library.  It includes all the tools you need to preserve food.  It is available to the community anytime of year with just a phone call—and a small donation.

On Saturday, May 28th (over Memorial Day weekend), the Vashon Food Security Group will be at Saturday Market on the Green with the Equipment Library to talk about food preservation and share recipes and tips.  All the tools will be on display and available for borrowing.  There is also an excellent video on canning and freezing.

If you miss the Saturday in May, there are 3 more chances for you to look over the equipment uptown and talk to folks who love to preserve their own food.  Preserving food is fun, satisfying and it helps with the budget.

You can see the equipment and talk with your food preserving neighbors on:
May 28th   10am – 2 pm at Saturday Market on the Green
June 25th  10am – 2 pm outside Thriftway, next to True Value.
August 20th   Annual Food Preservation Fair (next to the Green)
Sept. 24th  10am – 2 pm outside Thriftway, next to True Value.

And remember: the equipment library is open year-round.  Call Cathy Fulton at 463-5652, borrow your food preservation tools and get ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long!