We are quickly closing in on two months of fundraising for CCHAOS’ North Valley Food System Development Projects.Good Food/Healthy Planet
We are at a point where contributions, both monetary and voluntary, can make the difference between a living planet and a dead one. The corporate and political trend seems to be heading rapidly to the latter, but small groups of individuals and organizations like CCHAOS are weaving a network of support to make big change against all odds. Key to the success of our efforts is development and deployment of sustainable local food systems.
Here in the North Valley CCHAOS has been instrumental in bringing EBT CalFresh (foodstamp) capability to every single farmers market in Butte County, carrying out EBT Promotional Events at farmers markets, promoting healthy lifestyle opportunities and workshops, and securing and distributing New Farmer Scholarships for those starting out in growing and marketing produce locally.
CCHAOS provides EBT services to both the Gridley Farmers Market and the Oroville Hospital Farmers Market, and facilitates, promotes and coordinates healthy lifestyle workshops and events at these markets. At the same time we are the host to the year-round Chapman Food and Fitness Festival farmers market every week. We have participated as core members of the Cultivating Community North Valley grant project, and have received additional funding support from the Cultivating Community Advocates grant projects – both funded through CCFA’s USDA Specialty Food Grant Programs.
But there is more. The need for alternative ag education is exploding. How do we use our resources to create a self sustaining food production system as we move from non-renewable fuel systems to sustainable renewables? As Executive Director and CEO of CCHAOS, I have a vision of a “Ride the Grizzly Agrarian” project:
a bootcamp for new and beginning farmers/ranchers that would include a series of 2 to 3 week bike and kayaking expeditions down the Sacramento River starting at Shasta Lake and ending in Sacramento, visiting hundreds of farms and ranches along the way, using Grange Halls as base camps and including intense workshops on a slew of food business classes to expand visions and bootstrap new and beginning producers interested in building sustainable local food systems while weaving together a supporting plethora of existing but isolated and ag and land use educators and business resources.
I have a vision that Paradise and Oroville has long been able to support year-round farmers markets – but it has not happened. That Chico’s Certified farmers markets have been growing capacity for over 2 and a half decades at exponential rates and can support both a year-round Wednesday Farmers Market and a new Sunday Farmers Market downtown, and I believe the question of the Saturday Chico Farmers Market is not where do we MOVE it to, but where do we EXPAND it to. Planning and actively engaging these realities has to begin quickly.
I believe there is a need for both local and regional food hubs. Currently all our local markets are limited by being “shopping-bag” farmers markets (little or no room in isles or facilities for carts of any kind). We have a need for development of farmers markets that can and do incorporate shopping carts – both outdoor and indoor – and yes – even pallet jack accessible farmers markets for regional distribution to institutions like hospitals and school districts. And the time to begin development of those markets is now or we may be too late.
If you want to save the planet, the USA, America, or simply humanity, there are a few things local folks can do that will be most effective and you will hear them repeated by me and many others.
1) Grow your own garden and share with others
2) Buy or trade for the rest with local gardeners/farmers/ranchers
3) Celebrate, insist on and eat healthy local foods, products and services.
4) Breast feed your babies (in public as the need arises)
5) Join and take part in organizations like the Northern California Counties Time Bank: https://hourworld.org/bank/index.htm?hw=1050
5) Join hands with others doing the same things.
My goal for this Annie B’s fundraising event is unattainable. I want to take it from just a couple hundred dollars – like in years past – to $40,000 or more this year – a leap of unimaginable proportion.
And I want more than that. I, as CEO of CCHAOS have reached my limits – as an administrator, as a personnel manager, as a bookkeeper, as an event coordinator. as a grant writer and business and office manager. I have gotten this far only because of the support of over a hundred wonderful people who have encouraged and supported my vision and forgiven and filled in for my poor abilities – for years.
What I still claim is a sense of where we have come from and a vision of where we need to go. If you share that vision and have that hope, and a skill to share – and if you see CCHAOS as a tool and catalyst for spot on delivery of your skills toward solutions outside the stifled box of hopelessness and despair of the status quo – offer that up – in place of – or addition to – any contribution. Your passion and skill will be more welcomed, essential, and valued than any $$$$’s.
To reiterate: Besides and more important that the dollars, ($40,000 of them) CCHAOS needs the commitment of key collaborators, administrators, personnel managers, bookkeepers, coordinators, grant writers, graphic artists, public relations developers, business and office managers, and board members etc. The team we can pull together will make or break.
And finally, if not CCHAOS, there are over 250 great community organizations that are taking part in Annie B’s this year, and many more as well. They an you make me love and proud of the wonderful place we call home. Thank you for all the wonderful work you do for our community.
Email or Call me if you have questions: