Boston will hold its first Local Food Festival on Saturday, October 2nd along the beautiful Fort Port Channel in front of the Children’s Museum. The Festival aims to increase interest in and awareness of locally and sustainably grown food. Personally, I’m looking forward to the Whole Hog Demo; I figure actual sausage making will provide a welcome distraction from clean energy snausages in Washington. Festival goers will have access to locally grown food (including beer, mead, fish and artisinal cheeses), enjoy live cooking demonstrations, and learn more about Massachusetts farms.
Local food/farming is serious business. The number of farms in Massachusetts has increased by 27% since 2002. And many of those farms have expanded their offerings by adding tours, bed and breakfasts, nature paths, hayrides, and more. These new Agri-tourism destinations saw revenues of $5.6 million in 2007. Farms across the state have also invested in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems.
Back in Boston, local food entrepreneurs can build their business at Crop Circle Kitchen in Jamaica Plain. Local farmers connect with the best Boston restaurants in partnership with the Chef’s Collaborative. And shoppers can find many local food products on the shelves of City Feed and Supply. Looking ahead, hydroponic farming ventures – both ground and roof based – are exploring business opportunities in Boston and several innovative restaurants including the Ledge in Dorchester have begun to experiment with roof top farming to supplement their conventional sources and spice up their dishes.
In an upcoming post, we’ll talk about steps we’re taking to help Boston based food businesses remain competitive while promoting new and innovative sustainable urban agriculture ventures. In the meantime, clear your calendar for Oct 2.
A couple weeks ago, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced an intention to build a cleantech incubator, while acknowledging job creation and economic activity in the cleantech sector at an event in the Boston Marine Industrial Park. In an unscripted moment, the Mayor shared his belief that this sector would help propel the economy out of the doldrums. In a private meet and greet with the Mayor, a dozen cleantech CEOs described their product or service offerings, and every single business leader shared a job creation/expansion story.
More than a few opinion leaders agree with the Mayor’s assessment. Since his announcement:
And the New York Times pointed out that federal tax subsidies, currently siphoned to the oil and fossil fuel industry, would create more jobs if targeted to clean energy production.
These predictions are not news to the industry, of course. They only add to a growing body of evidence that investment in clean energy companies, infrastructure, related policy and programs, will put us on a path to recovery, while reducing energy costs for everyone.