Archive for April, 2011
Well, we hope anyways. We found out a couple of months ago that Cleveland was selected as one of the few locations for one of Jamie’s food kitchens, which are designed to help teach locals healthy cooking skills. But money still needs to be raised to have enough funds to open and operate the kitchen, so we’ll see how things develop.
Speaking of Jamie Oliver, are you watching his second season of Food Revolution? It’s on Tuesdays at 8pm, on ABC. This season he’s in LA – a location selected because it’s so large. Jamie reasons that if he can make substantial changes in such a large district, any other district could do it. Seems reasonable. After 2 episodes he’s run up against some pretty enormous resistance, and I’m definitely on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens. This show is really something – it’s heart-breaking but inspiring at the same time.
One of my favorite aspects is how he sheds light on the incredibly poor quality of the food being served in your average school cafeteria. Last year he did a demo on chicken nuggest. This year it was beef products – did you know ammonia is used to “wash” most ground beef products in the US? And it’s not required in labeling because it’s a proccessing agent. Really makes me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to shop at a farmer’s market and know for certain where my ingredients are coming from.
It’s increasingly rare these days to know where your food is coming from (China?), and almost unheard of to actually communicate with a farmer who puts his hands in the soil for you. But the local food movement has forward momentum, and there are more and more opportunities to visit a local farmer’s market and/or join a CSA (community shared agriculture) program. If you’re wondering what’s in it for you, read on, this is my top 10 list of reasons to buy local this summer.
10) Food tastes better, because it’s fresher.
9) Food has more nutrients, because it’s fresher. And it has less nastiness on it, like chemicals that can cause cancer and interfere with your hormones.
8) Going to pick up your food at the market/CSA stand means more time outside in the fresh summer air, which is a good thing.
7) Meet new people. And people who like good food are fun people to know.
6) Farmers know about a lot of interesting stuff, and they like to share.
5) You’re supporting local jobs, and the local economy, which is good for the whole region.
4) You can take your kids, which is FUN (and lets them burn off some energy)! Especially when you visit a farm. When they start to see how food is grown, they’ll have a whole new appreciation for food, and it’ll be easier to get them to eat their veggies. (Check out the pic- my baby Alena, bonding with farmer Carl and farm dog Casey. She’s not quite old enough to run around in the dirt..but maybe before the summer is over?)
3) Tired of hauling trash out to the curb every week? Buy local and you avoid excess packaging, which means less trash.
2) Try new, local foods that you’ve never even heard of before (purslane, ramps?) and won’t get in the grocery store.
1) Save $$, believe it or not. Buying from the grocery store means paying for packaging, shipping, and handling from who knows how many people. Buy local and you cut all of that nonsense out, which means you’re paying for high quality food and nothing else.
So go for it, check out a farmer’s market and join a CSA. Find one near you here. I’d be willing to bet that if you go once or twice, you’ll get hooked. There really is no better way to spend an hour or two on the weekend.