Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And another thing Greater Cincinnati needs: a Community Cannery

Here's another great idea: Schoharie County (in upstate New York) with help from the Cornell Co-operative Extension is in the planning phase of developing the Schoharie Co-op Cannery, which will be available for growers of all sizes (from backyard gardeners to local farmers) to process their produce in a commercially-licensed kitchen. There used to be such canneries all over the country; the growth of industrial food closed them as many people decided it wasn't worth the bother to can one's own green beans when commercially canned beans were cheap at the supermarket. Now that many of us are reweighing the amount of bother vs. eating organic, sustainably-grown food, the canneries are long gone.

We actually have something a bit like this available to us now: up in Lebanon, Jelly Lady Sonya has a custom-built canning kitchen which can be rented out when she isn't using it. (She also gives classes in beginning to advanced canning.) The biggest problem with using Sonya's kitchen is that during the height of the harvest season, she's using it every day from 6am until midnight.

What we need is something along the same idea as Sonya's kitchen but centrally located and available for use by the community year-round. We need a Community Canning Co-op.

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