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Community looks forward to discussion about food security during the recession.

By Kelda Miller, Community Correspondent, Sustainable Puyallup

An upcoming event at the Puyallup library is striking a chord with many people. Community members are looking at hard economic times and thinking of, or remembering, solutions that may work.

One of these is Estelle Pasquier. She nods at the farm across the fence and says “Those youngsters over there, now they're growing chickens too”. Of course, 'youngsters' to her may be multi-generational. Pasquier is 91 years old.

“I hope they're checking those eggs often enough,” she smiles. If anyone knows henhouses, its Pasquier. She and her husband once ran a chicken farm in Edgewood back when it was called Chicken Hill.

Like many others, Pasquier knows the importance of having secure food during hard economic times. She was twelve during the stock market crash, and grew up during the great depression. To her, it makes sense to meet some of your basic needs yourself.

Over at the farm, others agree. This site is ran by the Sumner Community Garden, and volunteers are often seen in the fields and among the chicken coop.

Recently they spent a day installing a fence, in what Randy Hynek describes as “reminscent of an old-fashioned barn raising.” Hynek is the Sumner City Councilman that helped organize the garden's creation. He adds, “All this is really inspiring work to do, here are people working together for a common cause. People want to reach out and help.”

At a time when jobs are dwindling and foodbank lines are growing, many people wonder what our future looks like. Since we can't know the future, there has been much discussion about looking back, to our history. To remember, and in fact, revive a time when neighbors knew each other and everyone had homegrown food close at hand.

On January 29, many community members will have the opportunity to discuss these topics and more. The event is at the Puyallup library and all are invited to bring their ideas.

Jason Hagen plans to be there; he's a construction worker now struggling to make ends meet. He's using his frustration about the recession, and his free time, to research the mortgage crises, lending practices, and local banks.

But for Hagen too, thoughts turn to basic needs “It's all about food, if someone else controls your food supply, then they control you.” But this doesn't cause him much grief, “Food-growing as one of the funnest, most empowering ways to live on the planet. I wish younger folks learn more while growing up.”

Back in her warm house, Pasquier is done with activity for the day. She's decided to buy a freezer, to store dairy and homegrown fruit, and has spent much of the day reorganizing. “I don't have energy like I used to,” she sighs. But she looks forward to keeping food again, and saving money. “Why should people go shopping when all this food is available?”

What: Uncertain Future: A community discussion about our money, our neighborhoods, and our ability to feed ourselves. When: Thursday, January 29, 6:30-8:30pm Where: Puyallup Public Library Cost: Free! Childcare, ASL, and Spanish translation also available.

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Page last modified on January 26, 2009, at 11:38 AM