I’ve really been lacking on the blog front these days…..every time I tell myself I will do a post tonight I find some excuse not to….
I wanted to write about something I’ve been trying to make an effort to do lately- buy and eat local food. I’ve been reading this book by Michael Pollan called Omnivore’s Dilemma and it’s basically changed my life. I will do a more in depth book review when I’m finished, but the book is already changing to way I eat and look at food and I haven’t even completed it.
“Don’t you find it odd that people will put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor than they will into choosing the person who grows their food?”
Do you think organic is best? Do you think about the impact of the environment on the boxed lettuce from California that “contains 80 calories…[but takes] more than 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy to make” and ship all over the country. I’m telling you, this book will make you never look at food the same again!
The biggest thing it delves into is the disgusting way that industrial meat is produced. I won’t go into detail here but I’ve read Paleo books and blogs before that harp on the requirement of ‘grass fed beef’ and ‘organic chicken’ however I would always say that was stupid and I could never afford it. Now I know the importance of KNOWING where my food comes from. Buying local is a way to do that. I know exactly what the animals are getting fed (and if antibiotics are used), how they are raised, and where my money goes. But how do you eat straight from the source, especially if you live in a big city? Here are some ideas I’ve already put into action.
1. Join a CSA
CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically you own a ‘share’ of a farm and they give you some of their crop weekly. I signed up for what is called an ‘individual share’. I paid $180 dollars and I get to go pick up my veggies every Tuesday. I’m supporting my community and I know exactly how my food is grown and where it comes from. And just because a farm isn’t USDA Certified Organic doesn’t mean it’s not. A lot of farms don’t want to bother with the paperwork and regulations to get certified.
Here’s a website where you can find a CSA farm near you:
2. Go to the farmer’s market
This one is easy in every city! I always try to buy produce during the summer from the farmer’s market, again supporting my community instead of workers in Mexico. I can’t wait for my town’s to start- should be coming soon!
3. Eat seasonal
If you are part of the CSA or shopping at the farmer’s market this one’s easy. Food has a bigger environmental impact when you have to ship it across the country. Try as much as you can to eat stuff in season- berries in the spring, zucchini in the summer, squash in the fall, etc. Obviously you can’t do it all the time, but try to do what you can. Here is a more comprehensive list:
4. Find a farmer near you!
This one was easy for me since I live in the boonies and there are farms everywhere. There was actually one down the street from my house. The farmer was super nice and willing to explain everything to us about how the animals are raised. I contacted him through email and drove down the road to pick up some chickens and eggs. I also made an appointment to pick up more chicken on an upcoming slaughter date.
My eggs and chicken! Yum!
You can use this website to find a farmer near you:
This farm didn’t have beef so I had to search out another one. It was hard to get beef this time of year because slaughters are usually in the fall, but I finally found a farm that had some leftover from last year. The meat is the best quality meat I have ever tasted and since it’s grass fed, it’s naturally lean.
And yes, this type of meat and shopping is more expensive. But really- do you spend more on your cable bill a month than you do on the food you put into your body to keep you alive? What are you priorities? I know this type of eating is expensive, but you really have to think about if it’s worth it. I think it is. It’s worth it on the money I may be spending on health care later on in my life. It’s worth it for the lesser impact to the environment, and it’s worth it to benefit my community instead of some huge factory that sends work out of the country.
What’s your take on this way of eating? Worth it or not? Do you buy locally raised meats and produce?