Sedona AZ (August 8, 2012) – Although the Southwest region of the United States is accustomed to a more arid climate, the farms in our country’s heartland are not. The ongoing Midwestern drought of 2012 continues to impact residents of the Verde Valley with increased food prices resulting from mass crop die-offs in that region.
In comparison, the drought of the Midwest is a one-year drought affecting the food supply nationwide whereas the Southwest region is experiencing twenty years of drought conditions. Even considering the annual monsoon rains, most of the native foods harvested in the Verde Valley, such as mesquite pods, are becoming scarcer each year.
Crops grown in the Southwestern region are generally more adaptable to drought conditions, however, local long-term food security is a necessity. When a population becomes dependent on industrial agriculture, it becomes vulnerable to drought and other mass die-offs resulting from pests and unfavorable conditions that directly affect the food supply and economy.
The Southwest region has history through Native American cultures of farming plants that are favorable to a more arid climate. Case studies of indigenous seeds and farming techniques from the Southwest are opportunities for agricultural improvements as they relate to drought conditions in other areas of the country.
The Verde Food Council believes the solution against food insecurity in our community lies within local production, education and distribution of our food supply.
According to the American Truckers Association report following Hurricane Katrina, significant shortages will occur in as little as three days, especially for perishable items following a national emergency and ban on truck traffic.
The Verde Food Council is 501 (c)(3) non-profit agency that focuses efforts on sustainable food solutions, hunger elimination, community education and advocacy in the Verde Valley. Classes exploring local food solutions such as gardening in the Verde Valley, seed saving, vermiculture, composting, companion planting and container gardens will be offered the beginning of October 2012. In addition, Verde Food Council’s fall class schedule will include courses in nutrition, cooking, hunger and sustainability in the Verde Valley.
Other initiatives driving Verde Food Council’s mission include the Weekend Back Pack for Hungry Kids program; Healthy Local Food for Food Banks; Senior Hunger Elimination; and the implementation of Verde Valley’s Hunger Action Plan.
Contact the Verde Food Council for more information on its programs, volunteer opportunities, council meetings and educational opportunities.