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Food Advocates Push Buying Local
Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on January 29, 2013 @ 3:50PM
Created on January 29, 2013 @ 2:10PM
 
Some people make a New Year's resolution to eat healthy. There are some farmers, health advocates and other agencies who want families to take that resolution one step further by eating locally grown food.
 
"We used to feed all of our citizens so my goal is to see us return to that which re-creates a lot of jobs, it keeps a lot of people on farms, where they want to be," said Tootie Jones, owner of Swift Level Farms.
 
On Tuesday, a variety of people related to the local farming industry were in Bridgeport for the Road Map for the Food Economy Working Conference. Topics discussed ranged from getting youth involved in farming to the actual process of how everyone can afford locally grown foods.
 
"We need young people to be the future of farming in West Virginia and there is economic opportunity to improve quality of life for communities, to create jobs in aggregation, distribution, processing and not just on the farm," said Savanna Lyons, WV Food and Farm Coalition Program Director.
 
Of course there are some problems for those already in the business.
 
"There's not a lot of funding, which makes it very difficult for people that have a small business that don't have a high credit rating but they're really trying to build something that's vital to the infrastructure of their community," said Jones.
 
While some at the conference were talking about how to fix these problems, others focused their efforts on getting these locally grown foods to the community.
 
One of the solutions actually happened over the past year in Monongalia County. There, thanks to a grant, about 10 families were able to use their SNAP benefits at local farmer's markets.
 
"Through that program, the children and their families received fantastic food, how to create different types of meals," described Belinda Nicholas, WV Family Nutrition Program Nutrition Outreach Instructor.
 
People at the conference said getting local food from the farms to tables not only keeps people healthy but also boosts the economy by keeping money in our state.

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