WHY BUY ONEIDA, WHY BUY LOCAL
Local businesses and farms produce more income, jobs, and tax receipts for local communities than big box stores do.
Local businesses and farms are more likely to utilize local ads, banks and other services.
Local businesses donate more money to nonprofits and are more accountable to their local communities.
Supporting local businesses preserves the economic diversity of our communities and the unique character of our neighborhoods.
Supporting local businesses and farmers is good for the environment, because it cuts down on fuel consumption. Buying locally produced goods reduces the need to ship goods from thousands of miles away and also cuts down on the distance shoppers travel.
Vine ripen - not truck ripen. Many of our foods are picked when they are not yet ripe and then ripen in the truck on the way here, or worse yet sprayed to look like they are ripe when they get here.
WELCOME everyone to the Oneida Community Integrated Food Systems (OCIFS). Our purpose is to pass on useful information about the OCIFS members and the products and services that they provide. But first, what does food and a food system mean to us the consumer?
Food comes to most of us now through a global food system which is destructive of both natural and social communities. In this unstable, post-modern world, our food can be one vehicle through which we reassemble our fragmented identities, reestablish community and become native not only to a place but to each other. We find this vision of people living well and responsibly with each other and with the land on which they are placed to be deeply appealing.
We need the recovery and reconstitution of community generally, not simply in relation to food. But though we may be able to think like mountains, we must act as human beings. To begin the global task to which we are called, we need some particular place to begin, some particular place to stand, some particular place in which to initiate the small, reformist changes that we can all hope to continue to transform our world for the benefit of us all.
We start with food. Given the centrality of food in our lives and its capacity to connect us materially and spiritually to each other and to the earth, we believe that it is a good place to start. (Adapted from: Coming Into The Foodshed, 1996, by Jack Kloppenburg, John Hendrickson & G. W. Stevenson).
By now you are thinking, "just who or what is OCIFS?" The Oneida Community Integrated Food Systems (OCIFS) Members are one of Oneida’s best kept secrets. The group consists of the Oneida Nation Farm, Apple Orchard, tsyunhe’hkw^, Food Distribution and Oneida Comprehensive Health Division. The OCIFS group is tirelessly working to integrate our local food and resources, improve the community’s quality of food, educate the people of diet related health risks, increase employment and youth opportunities, and assist in bringing all people closer together. Please visit those OCIFS websites for more information.
Collectively the OCIFS group has been instrumental in: the start up of the Oneida Farmers Market located at the One Stop parking lot on Highway 54 in Oneida. The Farmers Market runs every Tuesday from June - September and operates from Noon - 6:00pm. The Oneida 4-H youth and Pantry Volunteers run a brat booth at the Farmers Market so stop on in for a delicious Oneida Black Angus beef hamburger or a brat and a hot dog.
OCIFS assisted in establishing the Oneida Falling Leaves 4-H club in Oneida. Thanks to the Oneida Nation Farm, the 4-H youth have a 12 acre parcel where they have: a tree pilot project, 10 different sweet grass rings, a daffodil field and a pumpkin patch. This allows the youth to experience and learn first hand what it means to work the land and grow crops. It is our hopes that some of these youth will be the next generation of people to operate the Oneida Nation Farm and/or the tsyunhe’hkw^ Program.
The OCIFS Members recognized the value of having a comprehensive guide of area farms and farmers markets so they got involved with the Farm Fresh Atlas of North East Wisconsin. The atlas serves as a guide to finding and buying farm-fresh sustainably raised food in 16 area counties as well as the Oneida Nation.
The OCIFS Members are proud of what has been accomplished in the past, but they continue to look ahead and what yet needs to be achieved. One of the projects they are working on is the establishment of a Food Policy Council in Oneida. This council would be involved in ‘Capacity Building’ to strengthen the Oneida Community’s ability to be self-sufficient and provide local food security. Some topics that could be addressed by the development of this council:
* fresh and healthy foods in our schools and institutions
* reduced dependency on outside food supplies
* reduced energy usage (all that gas used to truck in food products)
* increased local employment in agriculture and agribusiness careers
* strengthen the local communities by diversifying the economy
* provide opportunities for youth to reconnect with the land
The OCIFS entities work cooperatively to try and bring about monumental changes in Oneida’s food systems. There are many ways you, the consumer, can help them to do this. One of them is to support it’s members. So buy your natural Black Angus meat from the Oneida Farm, your produce from the Oneida Orchard, or get your holistic health care and certified organic produce from the tsyunhe’hkw^ program. It not only provides you with the best quality and value, but it helps all people on the road to self-sufficiency.