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Jul 28, 2018

On episode 27 we welcome founder of The Common Market, Tatiana Garcia-Granados – with co-host Jennifer Hashley of the New Entry Farming Project to a discussion on  ‘Making Regional Work’.  Pioneers in a new system of regional food hubs, Tatiana Garcia Granados and her husband, Haile – founded Common Market in 2008 as an innovative solution to deep problems in the food system by creating a mutually beneficial link between family farmers and urban communities.

The flagship Common Market Mid-Atlantic is a mission-driven distributor of sustainable, local farm foods. Spawned of their North Philly Neighborhood – they developed a concept that would connect institutions and communities with good food from now over 200 producers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. There’s also a second proof case in the The Common Market Georgia – connecting producers with larger institutions in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee.  And, a newly spawned 3rd program out of Houston, TX, NYC & DC. All hubs set to build local food systems that generate health and wealth of rural and urban communities alike.

Each day, thousands of pounds of fresh produce, meat and dairy products leave the distribution center of the Common Market destined for school lunches, hospital meals and the shelves of local grocery stores. “We provide specific grower information when you place an order, and it’s printed on every invoice and every case of food so you know exactly how the food is grown and where it’s coming from.” – explains Garcia- Granados.

Co-host Jennifer Hashley always adds insight to the conversation. Coming at it from the producer, aggregator, and teacher’s seat – Hashley knows the bottlenecks, and the potential of it all.  Centered out of the Tufts Friedman School of nutrition – The New Entry Sustainable Farming program is one of the first initiatives nationwide to help immigrants and refugees develop commercial farming opportunities.  Jennifer’s goal is to help new farmers excel in the field, and New Entry gives them the tools to do that. It’s a revolutionary program that looks at sustainable and regenerative farming as jobs creation, and economic growth for regions often in need of stimulus.  In partnership with her husband, Jennifer oversees a diversified pasture based livestock operation, including Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds on the the renowned Codman Community Farm in Lincoln MA.  She’s a wonderful advocate for the agricultural region of the Northeast, and the small farmer everywhere..

Finally, Tatiana and Jennifer share some of their experiences for their Eisenhower Fellowship programs.  Tatiana’s focus on food access and policy throughout her program in Brazil was inspiring, and offered benchmarks for what can be accomplished to support the many family farms & farmers in our country.  Jennifer witnessed a colliding of two agricultural worlds in Ghana & Nigeria.  Titans from conventional seek scale, but are running into infrastructure and resource limitations needed to operate their model.

Whether it’s a food system in South America, North America, Africa, the EU or the Far East – Regional is everyone’s future.  Tatiana Garcia-Granados & Jennifer Hashley are two of the great folks proving that regional can happen!  We’re lucky they’re both on ourside.

What’s really going with local farms & regional food economies – have a listen.