Friday, April 26, 2013

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

When I was an Urbanite Floridian, I didn't think too much about where my food came from beyond "the grocery store" and that they get it from farms... somewhere... out there...

I was aware that you want to be sure to wash your produce really well because they may have had to use some pesticides to reap a good harvest.  And every now and then I'd hear that there might be wicked handlers on large "processing plants" that are mistreating animals.  But I didn't want to listen too closely.  With a sigh and a sadness, I looked away hoping that someday they would get their just due.  I mean, what else can I do?

My opinion and my awareness from those days has, unfortunately, been a slow evolution.  But, evolve, it has.

Since moving to the uber-rural state of Vermont (which, I'm happy to report, has taken the top spot in the 2013 Locavore Indcx, a ranking of the best and worst states for eating locally.  I'm sorry, my Florida friends, you came in second to last.  Don't let that discourage you, though... let it serve to make you more proactive.)  ...anyway... since moving to Vermont, my awareness has heightened dramatically.  Would it have if I weren't here? Probably. But maybe not as swiftly.

We've been getting our beef from this farm.  Here, the snow had JUST melted and these beauties,
like all Vermonters, are having to contend with mud season!

Ah, now it's starting to green up.  This farm is on my regular route to get anywhere.  They're typically sheep farmers,
with only 10, or so, cows.  I'll bet they're raising them for personal use (and maybe a couple of friends...)

I watched FRESH again last night.  It's streaming for free until April 30th, which is why I bring this up.  i want to share and encourage you to watch it, too.  It's so important to be aware (no more turning my face away!).

Click here to watch:

FRESH the movie

From their website:

FRESH Synopsis

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.
Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

The movie is about 70 minutes... so make yourself comfortable and settle in for awhile.  It's so worth your time.  We need to be informed if we're going to make a difference.   And I gotta tell ya... that Joel Salatin, he's my farmer-hero.  What a brilliant and conscientious man.

I know I'm just one, but we're all just one... and together, we're the masses.  Let's stand together, then.  Please watch, and explore their site... and go poke around at the sites of the characters highlighted.  

Personally, the re-watch has made me even more determined not to purchase my food from stores who are supplied by Big Ag... whether produce or meat.  Their product is not healthy; it's slowly killing us.  And the animals... well, besides being detrimental for our consumption, it's criminally inhumane.

My first choice is to buy directly from the farmer, and I'm so very thankful that we have numerous meat farmers within 30 minutes of us.  Those whose cattle graze happily in the meadows with the sun on their backs.  And the vegetable and fruit farmers are abundant as well.  We'll be joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) at a farm that's just 10 minutes away.  While I like to grow my own and tend my own little garden, I can't possibly work full time and still grow enough to feed us till the next growing season (eating through winter means taking the time to can all those garden treasures, too).

My second choice, when direct access is not so readily available, is to seek out merchants who carry products from reasonably local farmers; meaning you could get in your car and go visit their farm in person, if you wanted to... within 3 or 4 hours drive.

If you're having trouble locating a good source, you can do some research online.  Local Harvest and  Eat Wild, for example, have a state by state (and even abroad) directory of grass-fed/pasture raised animal and produce farms.  Read about them, their policies and their location... give the farms a call directly and find out what merchants they supply near you.

Be purposeful... be healthy!


Diane Balch said...

I live about an hour outside of NYC and finding local foods has really improved greatly in the last few years... It would be wonderful if we could catch up to VT. Thanks for sharing this info with us on foodie friday.

Binomial Baker said...

Interesting! Thanks for linking up with Foodie Friends Friday!

Nancy W said...

We also moved to Vermont from Florida and now have a huge garden and buy local beef and pork and raise our own meat birds. Quite a change from our life in Florida!