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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21 Responses to “Midyear Resolution: Eat Local Sustainable Food”

  1. This is a great resolution. I am like you, sometimes the NEW YEAR just isn’t the right time to make a resolution, I really want to pay more attention to what I eat and starting now is as good a time as any! I am going to check out Local Harvest! Thanks for the tip!

  2. A good resolution any time of the year and a great nudge and reminder for as we approach mid-year! It’s never too late!!

  3. You’re right Jean-it’s never too late!

  4. Hey Tiffany-Local Harvest is a great site. Just plug in your zip and it will pull up all sorts of local markets. Have fun!

  5. You already know I focus on buying locally, so I don’t need to comment about that. :)
    As for resolutions made later in the year, I’ve been promoting that strategy for a long time. It makes sense to make changes when you’re feeling strong, healthy, and happy. I’m making a renewed effort to avoid eating meat when I’m dining out unless the restaurant uses a sustainable source (and I trust them). My overall meat intake has plummeted, but sometimes I have the urge to “treat” myself to meat when I’m dining out. No longer: if I don’t know how the animal was raised, I don’t want to eat it.

  6. That’s a great resolution Andrea-eating out is one area where we have very little control over the food. We usually don’t know where it comes from and how the animal was treated. There are those rare restaurants that disclose great information on the menu-if the meat is organically raised, if the fish is farm raised or wild. If it doesn’t say I always ask. I like how you called it a “renewed effort”. Sounds much less intimidating then resolution. Keep me posted on how it’s going.

  7. Love the mid-year resolution Lori! I would love to find a local year round farmer’s market, thanks for the resources!

  8. I love this Lori, especially since this time of year is when we can actually GET more locally grown foods living in the Northeast. We joined a CSA and I’m so excited to see what goodies we get week after week.

  9. I am so passionate about this. I have all the farmers markets locations and times printed out at my desk. I try and hit them up before I go to the grocery store to get all my fresh produce. I have learned in my farmers market trips that you have to be careful what you are buying. I heard rumors that people were going to costco and buying mass amounts and then selling it as “organic”. I have not run into this yet, but I make sure to talk to all the farmers. Thanks for sharing this. It makes my trips to the farmers market seem worthwhile!

  10. Hi Jaszy-It would be so nice to find a year round farmer’s market. No such thing in Boston. Our CSA is year round-maybe that’s an option in your area. Let me know what you find!

  11. Hi Cathy-when does your CSA start? It is so much fun to see what’s in your share each week. You are right-this is such a great time of year for local produce.

  12. Hi Meg-great idea to have all the weekly schedules. I have never heard that rumor-I really hope it’s not true? Another reason to talk with the farmers and ask questions about where your food comes from.

  13. Even though I love buying local fruits and veggies, I definitely had my head in the clouds re: other foods, until one day I was pouring my son a cup of apple juice and saw the word “China” stamped on the top. I was stunned! Thank you for keeping us informed!

  14. You’re welcome Michelle! It’s amazing what we “see” once we have the info. That apple juice had to travel a long way to get to your table!

  15. [...] When a restaurant really knocks my socks off I want to share the news. On Mother’s Day we celebrated with another family and decided to try out a vegetarian restaurant, Life Alive in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The restaurant’s tag line is “Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe”-I was already sold before tasting a bite.  The exterior and interior of the space is hip and happening. The line to enter was out the door when we arrived, but it moved quickly. There were plenty of options and everything is fresh and organic. The organic vegetables looked like they were straight from a local garden. [...]

  16. [...] Locally. Show your support for the community you are visiting by eating locally and frequenting the local shops. Look for farmer’s markets and restaurants that showcase local [...]

  17. [...] Donate Teaching Kids Where Food Comes From A while back I made a resolution to eat sustainable, locally grown food as much as possible. I’ve done my best, but it’s next to impossible to grow or find seasonal [...]

  18. [...] canned foods altogether. Join a CSA and enjoy local, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables.  Use dry beans and pasta-it may take a [...]

  19. [...] option is to 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 [...]

  20. […] amount I exercise had been pretty consistent over the years and my eating habits are in relatively good shape, with an occasional splurge or indulgence. My weight really […]

  21. […] not what I’m talking about. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not big on resolutions.  While they’re generally well -intentioned, I usually try them out for a few days or even […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I continue on my journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I just might stop to make some noise about issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I fight for a safer world for all of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes in your life can lead to a non-toxic, healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

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