Food and Drink: local farms growing local food
Travel to places where local food is still supplied, and note the taste - it has flavor. Dining is a pleasure, not a pitstop to refuel. It is enjoyed in the company of others, and more time is taken - both in the dining and the conversation and laughter that accompanies it. Local vintages and brews taste better, often because they lack the chemical treatments given to the export trade, and because the vendors know their clientelle is local. Turn them off, and the business dies. While local food often has a long tradition that took centuries to evolve, time is not the critical factor. A new tradition of local food can be established by the VillageTown, borrowing heritage plants and livestock from other places, importing and mastering the arts of baking, brewing, basting and spicing.
Not all locations will have farms nearby, but those that do will seek permanent contracts with the farmers at the onset. The villagers constitute a large market, 10,000 people to be fed every day. Each home will have a food box next to the mailbox, allowing home food delivery ordered via computer. The farmers grow the food, deliver it to the freight depot where it is offloaded onto small electric delivery vehicles that do food runs every day. With advanced computer systems, all the intermediary work... from order entry to payment to packing & sorting for delivery... can be managed using automation. The need for expensive wholesale, transport and retail systems are eliminated. The farmer can earn more money while the consumer pays less and gets better food.
Of course some people will always prefer to walk to local shops - the butcher, the fruit and vegetable store, along with the baker, the brewer and the cheese maker. These stores will be located on the plazas, a close walk. In addition, in harvest season there may be farmers markets, where produce is brought to the festival field and sold direct off the back of the trucks. Speciality shops will carry exotic foods, those not available locally and staples that local farmers are unlikely to grow.
In the village-towns, food becomes an essential part of conviviality. Villagers will be encouraged to develop expertise in food, seeking out heritage foods and heritage recipes. Experts in slow food from other nations will be invited to share their knowledge. Food festivals will become a part of the cultural life of the community and the region. The VillageTown may become a Convivium - a member of the Slow Food movement.
During the planning stage, the VillageTown enters into negotiations with nearby farmers. If it does not do this early, it may find the very presence of a VillageTown can attract opportunistic developers seeking to turn good farmland into sprawl. Thus, it is in the interest of the VillageTown to secure protection for the farms before construction begins. It may do this through covenants or through actual purchase of development rights.
The Village Corporation then enters into negotiations with the farmers to provide a regular and constant source of a wide range of foods. There are several models that work, from the traditional contracts for production to a more recent innovation known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) where the community takes on some of the farming risk. The Village Corporation will set healthy and flavourful specifications for the food. Because the food is local, the massive infrastructure (and cost) of conventional food is eliminated. This enables the farmer to be paid more, thus relieving the pressure to squeeze more and more yield out of the farmers acreage. Chemical farming is not done to make better food, but to get more yield so the farmer can earn a good living. The VillageTown offers a better way for the farmer to farm and the villagers to enjoy the fruits of the farmers' labors.