Today’s guest blogger is Emily Akins. Emily is a longtime advocate for our local food system. She is outreach director for the KC Food Circle and sits on the steering committee of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition.
For me the start of the growing season is always the Eat Local and Organic Expo. Held at the end of March or beginning or April each year, it’s the biggest, best and earliest chance to enjoy fresh-from-the-farm, spring delights. After a long winter of not very much fresh green stuff to eat, those first harvests of spring onions (and more!) are a breath of fresh air … an onion-breath of fresh air, you might say.
This year, the KC Food Circle proudly hosted 72 vendors – our member farmers as well as artisans and community partners – and welcomed nearly 3,000 people in attendance at the Expo at Johnson County Community College on March 25. This was our 19th annual Eat Local and Organic Expo.
I always love to imagine what those first Expos were like with just 10 farmers and 250 people in attendance – that was the beginning of a movement. It was 1999, before “organic” or “local” had really hit the mainstream. Thank goodness for the the visionaries who – even then – knew that the agricultural wealth in and around Kansas City was something to promote, to support, and to celebrate.
For us eaters, the Expo is the kick off to the season. But those amazing KC Food Circle member farmers (we have almost 100 of them now!) have been behind the scenes all winter long getting ready for the warmer months. They put a ton of hard work and love into growing the incredible bounty of local food that our region has to offer – not only do they make Kansas City a more delicious place to live, they make our air, soil, and water healthier and our community stronger. And did I mention delicious?
This is only the beginning of another wonderful year of eating well and eating good. If you are interested in finding out more about the folks who grow your food, about the healthy and delicious food they grow, and about the positive impact they have on our communities and our environment, visit our website www.kcfoodcircle.org.
Now’s the perfect time to get growing, to get ready for the opening day of a farmers market near you, to join a CSA, or to join the Food Circle as a member and have fun with local food!