Tuesday, November 21, 2006

where does your food come from?

This is something I've been mulling over for awhile and it is now just starting to get some press (not to say that I thought of it first, but dribs and drabs of this information have been filtering through for a long time). Just about every well-infrastructured community has a farmer's market and for me it's like one of those things that I'm glad is there but don't utilize often. After giving this a lot of consideration and doing some research, I think I am going to start using it more.

At the supermarket, we buy grapes and avocados from Chile and oranges from California and don't think anything of it. That is a long-ass way for food to travel. The Seattle Post-Intelligence has a great article from 2005 on the subject, and I'd like to pull out a paragraph from it to demonstrate a very important point:
Local and regional food systems are better equipped to address local hunger concerns, farmland crises, environmental concerns and rising energy costs. Disasters such as Hurricane Katrina acutely demonstrate the importance of a strong and resilient local food system to ensure our short-term food security. We need to support the development of such systems to solve those wicked problems.
It makes so much sense and yet I continue to buy grapes from Chile. No! I will not continue to disrespect my local farmers! Here's a link to find out where the farmers markets are in your area.

Sustainable Seattle has a link to a study they are conducting that demonstrates economic money flows in terms of agricultural crops. By showing that local economies are strengthened by buying locally a change is more likely (and quickly) to happen.

Puget Consumers Co-op has been operating since 1953 so you would think after fifty-plus years they know what they're talking about when it comes to locally-produced food. Here's a good overview written by the executive director of Sustainable Seattle, Chantal Stevens, of the issues involved in buying locally. Check out the PCC website if you have a chance -- there're a lot of great resources and information that you wouldn't find on the Publix website, that's for sure.
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