Transition Woodstock Public Awareness Session
Meeting Summary – Woodstock Food Security
Woodstock Community Center
November 4, 2011

28 Guest participants
7 Transition Woodstock Initiating Team Members including one Presenter

  • Mila Funk – Permaculture Presenter
  • Katryna Barber
  • Pamela Boyce Simms
  • Polly Howells
  • Kevin Kraft
  • Vickie O’Dougherty
  • Jen Zackin

3 Guest Presenters

  • Melody Newcombe, Woodstock Dynamics and the Rotational Garden Collective
  • Megan Reynolds, Farm Market Committee, Woodstock Land Conservancy
  • Andrianna Natsoulas, Author: Food Voices: Stories of Food Sovereignty

1. Transition Woodstock will conduct a series of public awareness sessions on   various sustainability topics leading up to a comprehensive public event in July, 2012.
A major aspect of the July 2012 event will be the formation of issue-specific working groups of people interested in implementing projects which move Woodstock away from fossil fuel dependency and toward sustainable, resilient lifestyles.
Participants from each Transition Woodstock Public Awareness session conducted to date, i.e.:

  • The Power of Water in New York, and
  • Woodstock Food Sustainability

who expressed interest in delving more deeply into each of these topics
are encouraged to form independent working groups. Formation of issue-
specific working groups prior to the July 2012 event will provide an
important foundation and momentum for future work.

2. December 2, 7:30 PM, Reformed Church of Woodstock: Transition Woodstock presents: Energy Conservation- Winter Weatherization


Introduction to the Transition Initiative and the Transition Woodstock Initiating Team, Vickie O’Dougherty

Neighbor Introduction Questions: Moderator, Polly Howells

  1. What about food and the way we eat am I grateful for?
  2. What about food ant the way we eat troubles me?

Guest Speaker Introduction – Susan Moran

Adrianna Natsoulas: Andrianna’s upcoming publication, Food Voices: Stories of Food Sovereignty Movement was written against the back drop of the goals set forth in the 1996 World Food Summit. The Summit was called in response to the continued existence of widespread undernutrition and concern about the capacity of agriculture to meet future food needs. During that Summit, a famers’ movement, called La Via Campesina, coined the phrase “Food Sovereignty,” which addresses the goals of the Summit. Food Sovereignty is the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture systems. It calls for a governance and distribution system imbedded in communities and environmental sustainability. It ensures the health, cultural, political and economic needs of a community are securely met.

Inspired by this international peasant farmer and fisher movement which promotes the implementation of alternatives to the current industrial food model, Andrianna focused her research on five countries in the Americas. The countries she chose are Venezuela, which has incorporated food sustainability into its constitution and is implementing a plan and Ecuador which has a food sovereignty constitutional provision but is not yet implementing it. Brazil was chosen to investigate the struggle of its disenfranchised landless people’s movement to reclaim their land. And Haiti, often viewed as being as a lost cause, was selected as a study in countries that need to be left alone to pursue their own strategies for food sovereignty.

Adrianna interviewed 80 people in the selected countries about five ingredients of food sovereignty:
1. Community

  • People’s right to live in dignity
  • Local outreach and education
  • Organizing for change

2. Trade reorganization to create local markets

• CSAs Community Supported Agriculture – way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer

  • Selling at farm or boat
  • Local food system is at the heart of local economies
  • Community builds a relationship with the growers of their food

3. Governance: democratic control of local government
Examination of:

  • How decision making determines what can be produced
  • Local ordinances
  • Regulations that usurp local control of the food supply at the state and federal level

4. Consolidation and protection of access

  • High price of land
  • Laws that bankrupt and disregard the rights of fishermen, eg. shrimp farm hegemony in Ecuador

5. Environmental Stewardship

  • Agro-ecological approaches to farming
  • Diversity in Fishing

Megan Reynolds
The Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) works to ensure that natural environments will be protected and has safeguarded 1000 acres of land for perpetuity.

Megan and the WLC work to promote conservation values and sound agriculture by encouraging community involvement with local food systems, and the maintenance of family farms. To that end WLC pairs available land with farmers.

In response to a question about Woodstock’s potential food self-sufficiency at some future point Megan commented that the Woodstock area was a subsistence farm area. Woodstock could institute a land-link model with smaller tracts of land to connect people who want to farm with land. There are currently many young farmers looking for land. A community clearinghouse for methodically paring prospective farmers with land owners who have acreage to offer was discussed. A participant who had land he was willing to offer for farming volunteered to explore exploring the land pairing clearinghouse with a small group of interested persons.

Mention was also made of the need to bring grain milling back into the area.

Megan’s work with the Woodstock Farmers Market is to encourage residents to by food locally and invite farmers to build the local food supply in order to address gaps in the local food system.

Mila Funk
Mila spoke of permaculture as a way of working with the land that mirrors the perfection of nature. Permaculture initially referred to “permanent agriculture” but is now a more expansive term representing a design system for sustainable culture. Permaculture is a way of looking at human culture through ecological lenses; and fostering community diversity at many levels including biodiversity.
Permaculture design encourages us to start small.

Melody Newcomb
Rotational Gardening is a system whereby for one year, each member of a group of gardeners specializes in growing one main crop, related family of crops or crops with similar nutritional or horticultural requirements. The harvest is then distributed among group members.

The system serves to break pest and disease cycles, build and improve soil fertility and provides a way to share and simplify work. Community-building is an inherent result.

Explore posts in the same categories: Food Sustainability


  1. Babs Moley Says:

    I would like to sign up for email list. Thank you for this initiative!

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