Here at The Society, we are devoted to helping people live more beautiful, authentic, well-functioning lives – lives full of goodness. Occasionally we find things that are so in line with our values that we can’t resist promoting them. This is how we feel about the movement in our country to eat more locally grown food – to know or grow your own food source. Many people have reconnected with this concept as restaurants and local farms have begun partnering to provide fresh daily menus that are sourced from local growers and food producers. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is also a flourishing co-operative in most parts of the country. We invite you to look deeper into this movement with us. We believe you will see many reasons why it is an idea bursting with Goodness.
Generally speaking, as a nation we have lost the connection between the source of our food and ourselves. We typically don’t know where our food comes from or how long ago it was harvested. We have grown accustomed to being able to have any fruit or vegetable at any time of year. Many of us are unaware of what produce is actually in season and what grows naturally in our own region. This disconnect has only come about over the last few decades, but it drastically affects us on many different levels.
Here is how it started. In the early 1900s an attempt was made to transport lettuce and artichokes in iced down boxcars from California to the east coast as a winter novelty for the wealthy. This remained a rare and costly option for the upper class until mid-century when most of the food being consumed in America was still being grown on local farms. As we progressed to a nation run on highways with refrigerated trucks at our disposal, the option of shipping foods became more and more popular. Now this practice is so entrenched that we are completely cut off from the nameless, faceless suppliers of our food. Our food has become like any other item in our super-packaged over-processed mega marts. Our children are startled to learn; ”You mean milk comes from cows? Eggs come from chickens? Potatoes grow in the ground?”
Here are a few facts to consider as you think about eating local versus transported foods.
- Did you know that each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate?
- Were you aware that most standard vegetable varieties sold in stores have been bred for uniform appearance, mechanized harvest, convenience of packing, and tolerance for travel?
- Breeding food for travel has left us with tasteless produce that often ships long before it is ripe and is therefore not truly fresh. Have you ever tasted a fresh garden tomato? No comparison.
- Large-scale chemical agriculture poisons our soil and our water, and weakens our local economy.
One of the pillars of The Society is that, “Goodness is best preserved and spread one person at a time. Systems fail, our priority is the individual.” We believe that when people are too distant from those they serve, things begin to break down. If a farmer is providing food for his neighbors, his friends, or his community, he is more likely to make every effort to produce the best and most healthy food he can – full of Goodness. But when you grow for people you don’t know who live far away, it doesn’t seem to matter as much what pesticides you use or how excellent the product is. This is true in most any area of life.
My small neighborhood has started its own farmer’s market with locally grown produce and organic meat and dairy options. It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with growers and producers in my immediate area, shake their hands and thank them for what they do. It promotes a sense of community and mutual responsibility. I enjoy spending time on Saturday morning visiting the booths, talking to vendors, and trying new things. I love checking out their websites, seeing the farm where my beautiful leafy cabbage was grown, and using their on-line recipes to prepare the produce I just purchased. I feel connected to the food and the land it came from, the hands that picked it and the hearts that nurtured it.
Delvin Farms is a local grower at our market who participates in the CSA program. Community Supported Agriculture consists of “a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.” (from the USDA Alternative Farming Info Center) In other words, people invest part of their food budget into a local farm, the farmers grow food for them and everyone benefits.
Sometimes we just need to stop and think. We have to look at what we are doing and ask ourselves, “Is this the best way?” We want to encourage you to begin to ask questions like, “Is this going to help me live a more beautiful, authentic, and well-functioning life?” Why? Because you matter and the goodness you carry matters to all of us. Take time to consider the way you eat and how you live. Is it Goodness to you? We hope you will join us on this journey, take a closer look at CSA and local eating, and consider this amazing source of Goodness that is right in your own back yard.
To learn more:
The factual information in this post was taken from the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver unless otherwise noted. We highly recommend this entertaining and enlightening read. http://www.amazon.com/Animal-Vegetable-Miracle-Year-Food/dp/0060852550
1) How to get Started – 10 Steps to Becoming a Locavore http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/344/locavore.html
2) Take a Deeper Look – The Eat Local Challenge –http://www.eatlocalchallenge.com/
3) How to Garden in the City – Meet Mike Lieberman the Urban Organic Gardener – www.urbanorganicgardener.com
4) More about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) including participating farms in your area – www.localharvest.org
5) Delvin Farm College Grove, Tennessee – www.delvinfarms.com
6) Beekman 1802 A Shared Experiment in Seasonal Living - Purveyors of Heirloom Seeds, Gardening Tools, Farm Inspired and Artisanal products and a source of Pure Joy – http://www.beekman1802.com/ (we LOVE The Fabulous Beekman Boys!!!! Please visit their website and see the Goodness for yourself)