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Thursday, March 22, 2012

PrairieLand Partners: Local Foods Promotion

“We hope this truck, which will go door-to-door delivering vegetables, will be an icon for Emporia promoting locally grown foods.” 
Paul du Toit, August 2011

March 2011 - The 1948 International Truck before Thurston's Plus Autobody got their hands on it.

March 2012 - The newly refurbished 1948 International Truck made an appearance at the St. Patrick's Day Indoor Winter Farmers Market and appeared in the Emporia St. Patrick's Day Parade.

 Paul du Toit may be relatively new to Emporia (he moved to the area in 2009 as the manager of Prairieland Partners, Emporia's John Deere dealership), but his agriculture roots run deep and that makes him a champion of local foods, as well as a local leader in the movement. 

Paul and the employees of Prairieland Partners started a garden in 2011 and succeeded in supplying produce to Prairieland families, as well as to a few local businesses and grocery stores. "Our garden was started on the idea to support our local community through the production of fresh vegetables by having large enough quantities and a variety of vegetables to supply our local market. We are also hoping to inspire and encourage growers. Like starting any business, there are no guarantees," said du Toit. "We are learning a lot and taking the project one day at a time."

Most of the work on the garden was done by the employees of Prairieland Partners over the noon hour or after 5:00 PM. Several brought their children out to help plant crops.

Harold Brenzikofer, Emporia Farmers Market Vendor and Paul du Toit, PrairieLand Partners,  visit about the truck at the Indoor Winter Farmers Market on March 17, 2012.

The truck all decked out for the parade.

From Paul du Toit and the Local Foods Community: A big round of thanks to Jess and Beth Wilson of Thurston’s Plus Autobody for all the hard work they have put into this truck. These guys have been unbelievable! They have more volunteer hours in this project than we can ever pay them back for. The group from Thurston’s does excellent work and is a leader in community partnering! 

*simultaneously published at Kansas Food Stories