Food Works Benefit Friday, 11/05/10
Food Works is having a benefit dinner at Harbaugh’s Cafe at 6:00 pm on Friday, November 5. Chef Bill Connors of University Residence Dining is the chef for the event, and most ingredients are locally sourced. The suggested donation is $35 for a five-course meal. All proceeds will go to support Food Works’ farmer training and networking programs. Reservations are required, and the deadline is Wednesday, November 3.
Food Works seems like a worthwhile organization. According to their “About” page, their mission is “Local, sustainable food systems development for Southern Illinois.” They’re working on a “regional branding program to draw attention to the bountiful produce, meats and dairy products grown and produced in the region.”
Local food is good for the environment because less energy is used in transportation. Local food production is also a growing industry. Farmer’s markets are becoming more common, and sales at farmer’s markets hit $1 billion in 2006. Restaurant customers are willing to pay more for locally sourced food.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture recently gave Food Works a $25,000 grant for their Southern Illinois Farm Beginnings program. The goal of the program is training new farmers and farmers transitioning to specialty crop production.
The Southern Illinois Farm Beginnings program includes training in business and marketing, which is a necessity if local food production is going to be profitable.
Comments are welcome.