Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pig Roast

addendum to the previous post on reasons to eat local:

for us, eating locally has meant being a part of our local community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. all summer we have gotten fresh, organic fruits and veggies, and the kids have been able to visit the farm, see chickens, climb trees, and maybe begin to realize where food comes from. (although, the other day nicholas asked what sort of a plant sausage grows on, and i had to break it to him that there's no such thing as a sausage tree.)

as a side benefit, this week the farm hosted their annual pig roast (hence, the sausages), complete with bonfire and tractors for the kids to play on. it was a perfect autumn day, and really exciting to see how many people are connected and fed through this one little farm.

i've posted this link before, but if you are interested in pursuing a CSA in your own community, a great place to start is the website Local Harvest. not only will you connect more deeply with your community and preserve a piece of food security in your region, but you just might start eating better, too.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Eating Local

our local farmers market sends out an email newsletter each week, and this week had a section that seemed quite timely, given the harvest season and all (hey dad, #8's for you):

Ten Reasons To Buy Local

1. Locally grown food tastes better. Food grown and sold locally is crisp, sweet, and loaded with flavor because it is picked less than 2 days before it reaches your hands. Produce flown or trucked in from California or Chile spends a week or longer in transition from field to plate, enough time for sugars to turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce to lose vitality.

2. Local produce is better for you. Studies show that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly once harvested. Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is more nutritious than "fresh" produce that spends a week on a truck or supermarket shelf. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.

3. Local food preserves genetic diversity. Local farms tend to grow a large variety of plants, instead of only a limited number of varieties that can withstand the harvest and marketing process. This variety provides a harvest all season long, an array of brilliant colors and flavors, as well as preserves the genetic material from hundreds of years of human selection.

4. Local food is GMO-free. Since biotechnology companies currently only license to large factory-style farms, local farmers don't have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn't use it.

5. Local food supports local farm families. Direct markets, selling directly to consumers, cut out the middleman allowing local farmers to receive the full retail price for their food. With commodity prices at historic lows and farmers getting less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar, supporting local farms mean that farm families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.

6. Local food builds community. When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between the eater and the grower. Knowing the farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the miracle of raising food. Relationships built on understanding and trust can thrive.

7. Local food preserves open space. As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. Lush fields of crops, meadows of wildflowers, and wild open landscapes will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape.

8. Local food keeps your taxes in check. Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, as opposed to suburban development. On average, for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments must spend $1.17 on services, requiring higher taxes of all taxpayers. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, governments spend 34 cents on services.

9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued and diversity is welcomed. The habitat of a farm, with fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings, is the perfect environment for many species of wildlife, including bluebirds, killdeer, herons, bats, and rabbits.

10. Local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, abundant, farm fresh food

taken from the Sustainable Food Center's website.