Know your farmer, know your food

For the first time, the City of Moscow and University of Idaho Extension will host a “Know Your Farmer Know your Food” panel tomorrow at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre.  

This inclusive event is an opportunity for food enthusiasts, students, community members and families to learn about and taste local food. Local caterers will provide beer, wine and snacks at the event, which starts at 5:30 p.m.

Farmers from Washington and Idaho will speak in a panel discussion about operating small farms, community-supported agriculture (CSA), wholesale distribution, pre-ordering and institutional farming. Amanda Argona, Moscow Farmers Market volunteer coordinator, helped plan the first-time event.

“We want to strengthen community, and what better way than through food,” Argona said.

The event creates opportunities for students and community members to get involved and learn about their local food scene, said Ryan Lazo, program coordinator at Center for Civic Engagement.

If all goes well, Lazo said the plan is to have this event take place annually from now on.

The City of Moscow and University of Idaho Extension, a program that provides research and information to help solve community problems, wanted the event to be educational and inclusive. The “Know Your Farmer Know Your Food” event is intended for customers and potential customers to get involved in with their community, said Iris Mayes, extension educator for the University of Idaho.

Mayes helped provide context about what farmers will speak about, such as why local food production is important and how it can be supported by customers. Farm manager at WSU, Bradley Jaeckel, will speak at the event on the topic of institutional farming and how that looks different from private farming.

“Our main task is to provide students and community members hands-on experience about organic farming,” Jaeckel said.

Institutional farms, such as WSU’s Organic Farm, will be one of the topics at the panel. Jaeckel said regulations are different for private farms and institutional farms. One of these differences is that building guidelines vary between the county’s rules and WSU’s rules.

The “Know Your Farmer Know Your Food” event ties in with the Palouse-Clearwater Food Coalition’s Food Summit 4.0 event the following day. The Palouse-Clearwater Food Coalition is a community organization that strives to strengthen the health of the food system.

The summit will take place starting at 9 a.m. Friday at the 1912 Center in Moscow and include discussions with author and entrepreneur Carol Peppe Hewitt.  Hewitt will also give talk at BookPeople of Moscow at 7 p.m. later that day, which is open to the community. Hewitt will speak about her book, “Financing our Foodshed.”