Saturday, January 17, 2009

Local Harvest

I found a great site for locating "local" food in your area. lists farms and CSAs from around the country, just enter your zip code and they'll point you in the right direction. Also don't forget to check out, as well, for grass fed meats.

I believe that eating local food is a choice that can positively affect many of the problems that we currently are facing. Here are some of the benefits that I see:

Ideally, local food takes less fossil fuel energy to produce. Since the food is produced close to you, it will not have to take cross-continent trips in a semi-truck.

The food should arrive quicker and fresher than that which is shipped long distances. Many industrial food chain produce varieties are chosen for their durability, not flavor. Those huge strawberries at the grocery store are pretty, but many times are rather hard and tasteless. Local producers can grow varieties that are tastier and healthier, and can pick them at peak freshness.

Local, unprocessed food is more likely to be "real" food. As described in In Defense of Food, highly processed food - dense in calories yet light in nutrients - is a major cause of the obesity epidemic in Western culture. Real, whole foods are the true "part of a complete, nutritious breakfast".

Since the food chain is dramatically shortened, much of the obscuration is removed, allowing the consumer to make truly informed decisions. You might actually be able to go to the source and even meet the person who is ultimately responsible for how your food is produced. With all the curtains pulled back, you now can tell how "natural", "sustainable" or "organic" your produce and meat really are, and not rely on a mere label in the grocery store.

More of your food dollar goes to the person who produces the food, rather than the industrial conglomerate that processes and ships it. Every layer of middle men you cut out is more money flowing to the actual producer. Bad for ADM and General Mills, good for the farmer and you.

So, check out these sites, look for farmer's markets in your area and become an active consumer.

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