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Once upon a time, I thought local and sustainable were nice pastoral, quality of life concepts. Like growing tomatoes on the back porch. Until I learned that given how little food we grow regionally, we hardy New Englanders run out of food in a handful of days — three, four, possibly five — with a major disruption like a blizzard or a major transportation glitch. Just to be clear. we are not just talking fresh food. Frozen, canned. Takeout. You name it. That captured my attention. (I thank Tufts’ Friedman School professor Timothy Griffin for focusing my attention.) How close can we get to feeding ourselves? Can we add five days, a week? More? to our self-sufficiency? What are the trade-offs to get there? How can New England work as a region — Massachusetts is a huge food market, Maine has a lot of open space –to make sure we can feed ourselves and our families? Where do farmers fit it? How big an impact can Urban Ag make? What about seafood? What is our plan? How do we get from here to there?

Become part of the conversation.Come to Trinity Church in Copley Square on Thursday evening, October 3rd, and share you thoughts. Join with us, Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture, Gregory Watson and a smart, smart panel of experts at our free public Town Meeting on Can New England Feed Itself? How Close Can we get to Sustainability? Watch this space for details on speakers, sponsors and more. The conversation will begin on Thursday evening October 3rd, but we suspect it won’t stop for decades.

Louisa Kasdon