It was another freezing cold weekend in PA and I was looking for something interesting to watch on Netflix. Since I'm pretty obsessed with food and health I decided to finally watch Food Inc. Wow! Just when I thought I had a bit of a handle on eating more nutritiously and mindfully, I was taken to a whole new level of awareness. For those of you who've seen the documetary which came out several years ago, you know what I'm talking about. And for those who haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend you do. It's a very open look at how our food is produced. The dirty conditions, economic motives and often terrible consequences for both the envionment and us. You cannot watch this without being impacted and without wanting to explore how you can do better. Thankfully it's not all doom and gloom. The documentary also highlights one of many small farmers who farm humanely and organically. Farmers who make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls. Sustainable agriculture - it's pretty simple. Like healthy pasteured cows who harvest and fertilize the grass they eat. And don't get me started on GMO crops! That's for another blog.
As consumers we have the power to choose. Our choices will create change - it is already happening in our communities! I did some research into local farms in my area and found a great webiste called www.localharvest.com which lists local farms which practice sustainable agriculture and how we can buy from them and partner with them through something called a CSA. Here's a bit more info taken from their website.
"For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.
Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief:
Advantages for farmers:
Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow
Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm “ even veggies they've never been known to eat"
Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
It's a simple enough idea, but its impact has been profound. Tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs, and in some areas of the country there is more demand than there are CSA farms to fill it. The government does not track CSAs, so there is no official count of how many CSAs there are in the U.S.. LocalHarvest has the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, with over 4,000 listed in our grassroots database."
So check out www.localharvest.com if you live in U.S.
I'm joining a two CSA's this week. One for my chicken and beef and another for my fruits and veggies. Pick ups begin in May - I can't wait! Not sure what I'm going to do in the mean time...:(