Each time you choose locally grown organic foods, you are making an investment in your future health care said Jennifer Halpin, Director of the College Farm Project at Dickinson College. Sometimes you might have to spend a little extra. Or we might have to change our patterns a bit. But the effort is rewarded with food of greater value.
While she made many compelling arguments for buying local, healthfully grown food, Halpin's health based explanation held a special resonance. She was one of the speakers at the Carlisle YWCA Women's Symposium, "It's Easy Being Green."
When making food decisions, concerns about consumption of fossil fuels during long transports of cheap fruits and vegetables and possibly even concerns about the chemicals the food has been treated with, can seem abstract. Distant. Not part of our immediate concern. But Halpin made me think how much more value truly clean and nutritious food holds.
The produce grown and shipped to us from far away, is bred to ship and store well. It is not bred for nutrition or taste. Simply compare the nutritional value of grocery store ubiquitous iceberg lettuce to many leafy greens that are currently available in our farmers markets. Think of the red globes of cellulose sold as tomatoes compared to locally grown tomatoes. Cheap food is cheap in the worst sense. It has little value to our health or our enjoyment of eating.
We are lucky. We are surrounded by great markets and CSA's in this area. So finding healthy food is easier. We also have support in that search. Check out this site:
Buy Fresh Buy Local:
All you have to do is type in your zip code and they will help you find what your looking for. I entered my New Cumberland zip and excluded restaurants from the search and I found 30 producers in a 30 mile radius. They also have a social network component called "Good Food Neighborhood" which encourages sharing of local food experiences.
Another reason to be grateful we live in Central PA? A new farmers market is debuting next Wednesday, June 3rd. Called "Farmers on the Square", the market in Carlisle will run from 3pm to 7pm each Wednesday in front of the 1st Presbyterian Church on N. Hanover Street.