Tag Archives: local food systems

10 Reasons to Eat Local Food

I recently read an informative blog post titled 5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Local Produce.  Here are highlights from the authors five reasons, all of which I agree with!

1. Freshness– top quality, nutrients not lost over long transit times, reduced carbon footprint

2. Variety– exposure to both familiar and unfamiliar vegetables, herbs and wild greens. Allows you to explore cooking with new foods!

3. Educate yourself and your Family– helps us reconnect to where our food comes from, it’s an opportunity to learn about where and how our food is grown and what it looks like in the field

4. Organic and great for you– organic and pesticide free food is great for you

5. Sense of Community– gives you the opportunity to slow down and meet people, talk to farmers and others in commmunity

Delicious local veggies from the UVM garden!

I really like the fact that the author points out sense of community, for I feel this is a huge benefit of eating locally that is often overlooked. The more we understand our food, the more we value it, which means less mindless eating! I was so inspired by this author’s blog post that I decided to add to her list! 

5 More Reasons to Eat Local Food:

 6.  Support the local economy– eating locally means your supporting the businesses, people (families) in your community. It keeps money circulating in our own country.A study done by the New Economics Foundation in London found that a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.

7. Reduce the amount of fossil fuels needed to transport food– Eating locally is a sustainable choice because less fossil fuels are required to transport the food. A study in 2005 by the journal Food Policy found that organic food burns more fossil fuels than local food, thus contributing to air quality and other environmental problems. By eating locally, you are reducing our consumption of fossil fuels!

8. Keeps us in touch with the seasons– Eating locally means we’re choosing foods that are abundant and at their peak taste. Doing so also tends to save us money on produce that would likely be marked higher at times in the year when it’s harder to find. It allows us to learn about the food system, for example: what fruits and vegetables are in season where I live in VT? What fruits and veggies are season where my friend in FL lives where there is a completely different climate and growing season?

9. Know the story of your meal–  this is best summed up by one of my favorite quotes “A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes.”     – Wendell Berry, from “The Pleasures of Eating”

10. Responsible land development– by eating local food you’re supporting local farmers and the owners of the farms and pastures. This in turn, supports responsible land development for it gives these smaller farms a reason to stay in business and remain undeveloped/untouched by larger farm operations and agribusiness.

As you can see, eating local foods has a plethora of benefits. By doing so, you’re making a healthy, sustainable decision to support body, community and local economy, all while eating amazing and delicious food! If you’re unsure of where to start with local food, be sure to check out the Eat Well Local & Sustainable Food Guide– just enter you’re zip code and you’ll have all the resources you need right at your fingertips!

WP 2/23

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Surveying the Blogosphere

The blogosphere that I am joining is alive and active. Burlington, VT is a hotbed for local, organic and sustainably produced food, as well as discussions around the larger issues that exist within our food system. That said, the specific topics or niches that I found are that are currently being blogged about are: the local food system, sourcing food, educating consumers on how to make smart and informed decisions, outreach to community about food and food choices, farming, and nutrition – just to name a few. Overall, most of these blogs appear to be credible, and below I will discuss what led me to this conclusion.

  Above image: snapshot of City Market’s blog, Serving Up Vermont [1]

Serving Up Vermont is City Market’s blog and is run by Caroline Homan (City Market’s Food Education Coordinator) and Meg Klepack (City Market’s Outreach & Local Food Manager). Together, their job is to help source local food for the co-op and educate members about a wide variety of topics, including local foods and farming. Both women have a strong passion for food and local community. As a subset of the City Market website, I find Serving up Vermont not only credible, but a wonderful resource and example of how to successfully blog about topics regarding the local and organic food movement here in Vermont. I love that the blog is updated every couple of days and more importantly, that every post either has pictures, tips or delicious recipes. Serving up Vermont accurately reflects City Market’s mission, goals and direction therefore I find it mostly unbiased since the author’s outline their intentions (to strengthen the local food system and create better food security and sense of nutrition) right on the blog. However, it is important to note is that the authors of this blog work for CM (and are probably being paid to blog). This made me wonder- if one of  them disagreed on a specific stance that City Market, the City of Burlington, etc. took on an issue, would they voice it on the blog? What do you think? Should bloggers have the right to voice their opinion, even if it’s not in line with the company, organization, etc. that they are representing?

The Burlington Food Council is another blog contributing to the conversation of local food here in Burlington. According to the Burlington Food Council’s website, the group formed after a 2002 town hall meeting that intended to gauge the public’s sustainability priorities. Citizens voiced that they wanted more local, fresh and healthy foods at public schools and their communities in general. After this meeting, a group of volunteers and nonprofits worked together with Shelburne farms to receive a USDA Community Food Project Grant to encourage healthier food choices, and build capacity to meet community health needs (including improving school meals). The BFC formed one year later in 2003 as a way to connect nonprofit organizations, volunteers and government agencies and work toward the following goals: to build food knowledge and experience, to build food appreciation and access, to build local food systems. I find this blog credible because they’ve done extensive research including the Community Food Assessment that helped create an action plan for the school district and larger Burlington community. Based on the depth of work that the BFC has done, as well as their knowledge on issues regarding food, access to food, and community health, I consider them a great resource worth checking out.

The Campus Kitchen at the University of Vermont blog is a subset of the official blog of the Campus Kitchen Project and contributes to the conversation of food in Burlington in a slightly different way. The group helps to relieve hunger in Burlington by working with UVM Dining Services to salvage unused food and turn it into a nutritious meal to distribute to members of the community. In doing so, they provide a necessary link between the local food system and other social problems such as feeding the hungry. As mentioned on the CKUVM blog, the group is involved with multiple projects, including doing the majority of the cooking for Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf which according to CKUVM is a food bank, soup kitchen, and the largest direct service emergency food provider in Vermont (they serve one hot meal per day). CKUVM contributes to the online conversation of food in Burlington by providing a link between the social aspect of food and community involvement and food. Although the blog is informative, given CKUVM’S strong presence on UVM’s campus and in the community in general, I would expect their blog to be active and independent of other CKP initiatives. In reality, it is not. Due to lack of accessibility, I feel the online voice of CKUVM is minimal and can get lost amongst all the postings from different university’s that are involved with CKP. I feel this creates an inaccurate representation of the group given their level of involvement in the community. Perhaps the reason for having all schools post to one blog is tactical and helps provide a cohesive space for the organization,however,I just found it confusing and difficult to locate.

Sources: [1] http://www.citymarket.coop/blog/

WP 2/7