Why would one go to all the trouble to eat local food and go to three or four different places to get food from local farmers and producers? Some would argue that driving to three different local farms is leaving a much larger carbon footprint than the one trip to the supermarket down the street. Fortunately for us, this is not the case. In fact, according to Michael Pollan, the average food in American supermarkets has traveled over 1,500 miles. This means that one could take the scenic route out to that farm and still not even come close to the carbon footprint of the supermarket food.
Taking this a step further and really making the most of the extra time to pick up this food is something that could mold the next generation of consumers. Why not make those trips for food a family affair? The earlier and more frequently youth can be exposed to these local ideas and practices, the more likely buying local will become second nature to them. Just as we were raised to go to the grocery store for food, why not flip it for the next generation and introduce them to the animals, plants and farmers down the street. I could go on and on about the life lessons that can be taught from just one trip to a local farm. When a young person sees first hand the animals in the field, the food in the farm’s refrigerator and the exchange of currency directly between the consumer and the producer, it's like taking the blinders off of a horse.
We as a culture are so fundamentally disconnected from the food system that we often forget about the process from field to plate. It is easy to pick up a pack of chicken breasts on the shelf in the back of the supermarket and not picture a real live chicken in a confinement house in our imagination. However, pick up a cut of meat or poultry from a farmer and you can walk out the door of the barn and be immediately and visually reminded what it actually is that you have just purchased. While many may be uneasy about meeting their food before it becomes their food, it is our responsibility to both our families and ourselves to be educated consumers, and education leads to respect. Respect not only for the animal that makes it possible for you to survive, but also for the land that produced that animal and the farmer who facilitated the production. As citizens, if we begin to respect and hold the most basic of these principals to a higher standard, imagine the positive impact this could have on our society as a whole.
Let’s be clear moving through this discussion that in no way are you evil for patronizing the supermarket. By the very nature of our economy and infrastructure it is almost impossible to not get ingredients from the grocery store. What we have to do as good stewards of the land and environment is to make a conscious effort to incorporate intelligent decisions into our daily food intake by our fundamental understanding of the food system, both locally and globally. A great example of this is to eat in season. If you cannot go down the street to your local farmer and pick up that fresh tomato or chicken, then consider having something else for dinner. Real food is very seasonal, and for that reason we can or freeze our food in anticipation for that off-season.
Now that we have talked about going loco, errrr I mean local, listed below are some places to start. These listings have been compiled from several online sources. I cannot speak for the products and production for each of these listings, only to say that they advertise as local. It is up to you to try these outlets and choose your favorite, then tell all of your friends and family.
Andy’s Eggs & Poultry
Bel Air Farmer’s Market
Brooms Bloom Dairy
Cedar Hill Farm Creamery
Flying Plow Farm
Grand View Farm
Hickory Chance Beef
K.C.C Natural Farms
Wilson’s Farm Market
Disclosure: Blogger may receive payment or income from a company, organization, group, or individual with a financial stake in the issue he is weighing in on.