As great as it is to eat local, in most of the U.S. there are certain months of the year when it is difficult, if not impossible, to eat local food fresh from the field. Thankfully, a new crop of food hub entrepreneurs are thinking beyond the growing season by freezing fresh summer produce to sell locally in the winter.
Practiced for centuries in Eastern Europe and Germany, hugelkultur is the process of making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. The result is a low-maintenance garden that doesn’t require irrigation or fertilization. Hugelkulture beds have naturally good drainage and produce incredibly rich, fertile soil that retains moisture. It’s also a great way to upcycle woody debris. Hugelkultur is often utilized in permaculture systems and even works in the desert!
Food hubs are a crucial, but often invisible, part of the local food system. They help small farms grow by offering a combination of production, distribution, and marketing services. There are now 236 food hubs in the U.S., with more popping up all the time.
Guest-blogger Justine Wenger of The Market Restaurant, a seasonal restaurant on Lobster Cove in Massachusetts, enlightens us as to what a seaside restaurant can do with all of those discarded oyster shells – feed them to local chickens to improve eggshell and soil quality for area farmers.
Sustainable America spoke on the phone with farmer Tim Huth, of LotFotL (pronounced like “hot bottle”) Farm in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, about the drought of 2012, and how the farm’s CSA has helped them weather the heat.