Last year after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, a part of me was transformed. If you haven't read the book, a very basic synopsis is that Barbara picks up her family and moves across the country from Tuscon, Arizona to a piece of family property in Virginia, with the goal of subsisting off of food she grows or can only be produced locally for one year. Now trust me if you are familiar with Barbara Kingsolver you know the depth and beauty of her writing spills onto every page. Her journey, lured me in, and presented me with a new perspective on eating and of course consumerism.
Boulder is the home to a beautiful Organic Farmer's Market, every Wednesday and Saturday. At the Farmer's Market, relationships are born. After regular weekly visits, faces become familiar with a farm's name or particular type of produce. Best yet, money goes directly to the farmers, cutting out the need for trucking produce around town, middle men, and lost profits. Over the years, the Boulder Farmer's Market has offered countless opportunities to budding entrepreneurs mainly in the food industry. Take for example Sister's Pantry, their dumplings were made famous at the market, and now they are sold frozen in Whole Foods. And yes, I often imagine having a little baked goods stand at the Market because this market is the avenue to make small dreams come true.
Moving beyond the opportunities to support local farms at the Farmer's Market, there is something called a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. With a CSA the intention is to support farmers, during off season. Every CSA is run a little bit differently, but basically you pay up front to the farm, for a share of vegetables, fruit, and flowers or a combination. A CSA I have been a member of in the past, we paid in two installments in January and March, then we were provided with 20 weeks of produce from May through October.
There is a wonderful resource called Local Harvest. On the Local Harvest webpage you can type in your zipcode or punch in your state and find a plethora of local farms to support directly!
I understand that it's truly a commitment to try to eat only locally produced foods, but every effort when it's available makes a wonderful impact on your local economy. It saves the environment from pollution and oil consumption because there is no trucking of produce across the globe. And to be quite honest, the produce tastes so much better. It's juicier, sweeter, and more vibrant, because it was picked when it was ripe maybe that morning or within the last few days.
I am amazed at the global nature of produce movement. Sorry hubby, but do we really need to eat apples from New Zealand in August? Aren't the locally grown peaches, apricots, cherries a wonderful substitution?
Take a closer look at where your produce is from. Check out Local Harvest and see if you can start investing in small family owned farm in your neck of the woods!
Just curious about how many of you belong to a CSA or visit a local farmer's market?