The Local Eating Challenge Begins!

Posted on June 28, 2011 by Deborah

An abundance of freshness from the farmers market

 

My month of local eating begins on July 1, 2011. I’ll be posting regular updates on my blog, complete with recipes and tales of my search for local ingredients. Meanwhile, there’s still time for some of you to join me in this adventure. You don’t have to commit for the full month – try it for one week, one day, or even one meal.

What’s the point of eating local? I hear some of you asking. Here are just a few of the reasons that persuaded me to try it.

It’s safer.

Your mother probably said to you, “Don’t put that in your mouth! You don’t know where it’s been!” It’s good advice, and it applies to food as well as to toys or bugs. When you eat food that was grown in South America, for instance, then transported by boat, plane, and/or truck to your home in Minnesota, you have no way of determining what pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides are living on it. By the time it’s processed and packaged, a whole new set of poisons come into play.

On the other hand, when you get food from a farm down the road, you can learn everything about your potato or carrot simply by talking to the person who grew it. And when you grow your own food, you are intimately acquainted with your dinner.

 

It’s fresher.

Stop by your local farmers market and ask when the tomatoes were picked. Odds are, they’ve been off the vine for only an hour or two. This means they were picked when ripe, rather than picked green before turning that sickly pink-orange color during the roughly 1500 mile trip to the grocery store.

 

It’s natural.

Strawberries do not grow in Tennessee in December. Sure, you can find them in the supermarket, but they’re out of synch with nature and with the human body’s own cycle. Worst of all, the year-round availability of seasonal foods has caused us to lose track of how our environment really works.

 

It’s good for the local economy.

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘these hard economic times’ in the past couple of years? Is your neighborhood turning into a ghost town? Have local businesses closed their doors? It takes a village to maintain a village, and an excellent way to help rebuild your own community is by supporting the local businesses. Small farms are at the very heart of every community, but they tend to be invisible simply because we no longer recognize the connection between the food we eat and its source. By purchasing food from local growers, you can contribute to the strength and vitality of your entire town.

 

It’s up to you to preserve your own freedom.

You can’t buy fresh local food if it isn’t available. Small farmers are under attack by lobbyists for the mega-farms industry. Learn about pending legislation that, if implemented, will limit our food choices and strangle small farms. See this Farmageddon trailer at the Organic Consumer’s Association.

 

So what can you do right this minute? How can you become a locavore and help save the world? Just pick one or more of these easy steps:

  • Visit Local Harvest to find A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) near you.
  • Shop at the local farmers market.
  • Start eating only food that is in season.
  • Grow your own fruit and veggies in your backyard.
  • Learn to recognize wild food and become a forager.

4 Comments +

  1. Go you. I am very interested to see how this all goes. I get really excited when I see food that comes from in-state (I bought a Georgia cantaloupe today!) but there’s a long way between that and the 100-mile challenge.

    June 28th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
    Comment by mickey
  2. My husband and I stop by our local farmers market nearly every week. Not only are the fruits and vegetables fresher, but we like to support our local farmers. We often find they’re cheaper too!

    June 28th, 2011 at 5:47 pm
    Comment by Janet
  3. Hey, Mickey! That’s a great start. Consider the cantaloupe your first step toward a 100 Mile Diet Challenge. Let me know when you dive in.

    June 29th, 2011 at 8:53 am
    Comment by Deborah Adams
  4. Good for you, Janet! I agree with you — the local farmers’ prices are often lower than at a supermarket. Plus the food is fresher and there’s the added benefit of having great conversations with each and every vendor, learning about his/her gardening techniques, getting tips from them about recipes. Thank you so much for helping to keep farmers alive!

    June 29th, 2011 at 8:56 am
    Comment by Deborah Adams

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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