Local Food Includes Not Only The Best Nutrients But Love
I was fortunate enough this week to interview two amazing guests on my radio show Eat Well to Live Well with Kellie Hill that helped me further understand the importance of shopping locally. I was joined by Laurie Cohen Peters, co-founder of the national non-profit Farm Food Freedom Coalition (F3C) and Dave Salch, a local, sustainable farmer and advocate of a healthy food systems who owns and operates the 10 acre farm Little Sprouts Family Farm (see a few of their kids hunting eggs above).
These interviews really made me stop and think about why I choose local food, what it really means, and what you can do to start choosing the best, local food now.
Let me explain to you why I choose local food. It just tastes better. There’s nothing quite like the scrumptious Swiss Chard I picked up at the farmer’s market the other day. This local food was cut the night before. I bought it the next morning / still gorgeously dark green leaves, with red, yellow, orange, and white stems. And we ate the local food that evening / almost as fresh as if I’d grown it myself. This versus the same product (at least in name) that could have picked up from a mass-retailer which would have been cut anywhere from days to a week ago, flown across country or countries, sat in cargo holds, and lost some of the nutritional value. It doesn’t take research to see the difference between these types of food and understand why local food tastes better.
Local Food Is Local Food
That may seem like a silly statement, but let me give you an example. When I was at a Whole Foods in Southern California I was looking at the spinach. Not only was it not from California (even though I could probably throw a stone and hit a local food farm from where I was) it was from China. This spinach was flown halfway around the planet. I had to ask myself / when was this spinach cut? How long has it been in this bag? Does China have any ruling about what can be called organic spinach? What amount of fossil fuel was used to fly this spinach to California? How can a local food farmer not be able to supply a fresher, higher quality product? Or are they just not allowed because it isn’t as consistent as a giant manufacturer? The nutritional value of the local food I choose versus something that has been in transit for days is obviously higher. And, when I eat, I want the most nutrients out of my food – that’s local food.
Local Food Keeps Money Locally
So, local food tastes better and has more nutritional value. Plus, I’m supporting local food family farmers to help build a stronger local economy. When we purchase local food we are continuing to circulate our home dollars at home. The merchants are helped out and local prosperity is increased. The $2 I spent on Swiss Chard at the local food farmer’s market went to the Fry Family Farm / Suzi and Stevie Fry, their family, and their family of workers. Not one penny of that went to a big corporation or overseas. That’s how we begin to make our dollars count as a vote toward the types of local foods that will sustain us economically and nutritionally. When I purchase my local food not only is my dollar staying here so are the jobs. The same lady, Jamie, who sold me my Swiss Chard was also the person cutting it the day before. She’s also the person I’ve heard talk to people about the farming practices and how to use the produce. I know she loves her job, she loves the other people she works with, and she loves the farmers she works for. She gets a fair wage. Purchasing local food keeps money locally.
Local Food Doesn’t Need Government
We’ve all heard the horror stories of the unfair, unsafe treatment of workers in large corporate facilities. Another problem we’ve seen a lot in the news is incidents with food safety from these large corporate farms. Then the government steps in with increased controls but only to the extent that it’s convenient for the agri-business itself / not the health of consumers. And I’ve talked about this before / there’s a question as to who is actually being protected. We consistently have seen small local food farms and raw food cooperatives raided by the FBI and FDA / in California Rawsome Foods, a private food club, was raided twice and the videos show swat teams with big guns demanding customers put down their foods because these are local food raw products, not mass produced products. We’ve seen farmers arrested and criminal charges filed for providing nutrient-dense whole local foods such as raw products / many Amish dairy farmers have been hit the hardest as they have stood their ground citing their inalienable rights to sell raw dairy products to consumers that knowingly choose to purchase the products. All this under the guise that the FDA is protecting us. Truly, I don’t’ want the government telling me which foods I can eat and where it’s okay to purchase them. When I wanted raw milk for my family, just like the generations of my ancestors were raised on / I mean, my mom remembers all the siblings fighting over who got to skim the cream off the top of the milk from the cow each morning / yet it was illegal for me to purchase raw milk. I’ve written before that I think if the Founding Fathers of the US had ever thought we’d get to a point where it was illegal to buy eggs, milk or meat from my neighbor, they would have guaranteed our right to freedom of food choices. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone ever anticipated how big businesses would control our food system. If you’re not outraged, you aren’t paying attention – and local food may disappear to large corporate monoculture foods.
Local Foods – How to Find Them
Ok, I don’t want to get all preachy – but I do want to give you some options to start finding local food.
Find small local food farmers in your area. Look for local food farmers markets or local food co-operatives. Start a dialogue with the vendors in these places. They are a fountain of knowledge about where to shop. It’s amazing how much you’ll find by just asking.
Check out the website farmmatch.com to connect worldwide with local food farmers, local food buying clubs, farmers markets, and restaurants that offer fresh, sustainable, organic foods.
Another great way to get local food is to become a member of a community supported agriculture or CSA for short. You can find one in your area at localharvest.org. The best organic food is what’s grown closest to you. Use their website to find farmers markets, local food family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area. They also have an online catalogue for things you can’t find locally!
Try and connect with like-minded, local food folks in your area. This will help you locate many local food options that aren’t advertised. Most small farmers don’t have the ability to spend their extra dollars on advertising. But once you meet a few people, you’ll quickly find many people looking for the healthiest local food options available. Find worldwide chapters of the Weston A. Price Foundation at westonaprice.org. This Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. Local chapters will help you get in touch with local food choices.