June 16th, 2011

Midyear Resolution: Eat Local Sustainable Food

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local farmers market

Who says New Year’s resolutions have to start on January 1? The Babylonians did. The tradition of resolutions started way back when with the Babylonians and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since.

Bad timing

January 1st doesn’t work for me.  I am usually digging deep down into my bag of tricks to find ways to keep my kids entertained during winter vacation.  January is also the time when I am finally coming up for air after the stressful holiday season-definitely not a time I want to be making resolutions that will bring about significant changes in my life. There’s a good chance I will fail so I skip it year after year.

Midyear resolution might work

When Lynn from Organic Mania raised the idea of a midyear resolution my initial reaction was “no way”, but after giving it some thought I think it’s actually doable. The weather is beautiful and it feels like a natural time to reevaluate and find ways to better myself.  So I’m going to give it a go.

My midyear resolution: To eat sustainable, locally grown food (as much as possible).

Why eat local and sustainable foods?

  • Eating local foods fights global warming. The average fresh food item on our dinner table travels 1,500 miles to get there. Buying locally-produced food eliminates the need for all that fuel-guzzling transportation.
  • Local food looks and tastes better. The crops are picked at their peak, and we eat them when they are in season.
  • They’re better for you.  The food gets to your table in a short amount of time allowing the food to remain fresh and retain its nutrients.
  • Eating locally grown food helps the local economy. Farmers who sell directly to the local customer receive the full retain dollar on their products since they don’t have to invest much in transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration and marketing.
  • Local food creates a connection between eater and grower. We, as a culture, have lost sight of where our food comes from. When you buy direct from a farmer you’re recreating a connection between the land and the food you eat.
  • Local food is safe. You know who you are buying from and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.
  • Sustainable food production methods are healthy, don’t harm the environment, respect workers, are humane to animals, provide fair wages to farmers, and support farming communities.

How to buy local, sustainable food

  • Grow your own food. You will know exactly where your food comes from. I’ve tried this one and my green thumb isn’t very green. Maybe you’ll have better luck.
  • Join a CSA. I already belong to Community-Supported or Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA), also known as “subscription farming.” I buy a subscription from a local farmer and receive a “share” of fresh, locally grown or raised fruit and/or vegetables each week.  If you would like to find a local CSA in your neck of the woods take a look at Local Harvest .
  • Visit your local farmers market for fresh, locally grown produce, meat and cheeses.  At the market you can look the farmer in the eye, ask question, know where your food is coming from and feel good about it. There are plenty of local markets around that I will check out.
  • Use Local Harvest to find organic food that’s grown closest to you. This site will help find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.
  • When I’m shopping at the supermarket I’m going to pay close attention to how far the food has traveled. The local Whole Foods Market labels their produce with the country and state of origin. I will use information this to decide whether or not to buy the produce, meat or cheese, along with many other factors including whether it’s organic and the any other ingredients.

Do you have a midyear resolution?

Do you focus on buying locally?

This post is for the Green Moms Carnival on midyear resolutions hosted this month by Lynn over at Organic Mania. Be sure to head over to Lynn’s site  to see what the other amazing green mom’s are planning (or not planning!) to do for their midyear resolutions.

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Cleber Mori/Flickr]

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