Monday, September 17, 2012

Local Food: Ingredients

Made in Madison.
Aaron and I recently watched the documentary "Ingredients." It had been on our Netflix queue for a while, but came at a great time, as it discusses the importance of local food and mentions Farm to School, which I am doing a project on for one of my classes this semester.

The project will be challenging and we don't know if we will find that Farm to School is beneficial (from a cost-benefit standpoint) yet, but overall I would say Aaron and I try to support local farmers and food suppliers as much as we can afford to. We get excited to buy the things that say "locally made" at Whole Foods and we go to the Farmer's Market every week. I especially love when restaurants tell you where they got their food from (this is pretty popular in Madison).

Of course, we could be doing a lot more. We don't go to the winter Farmer's Market, we don't have a source for locally produced eggs*, and we don't can or freeze food to enjoy more local stuff during the winter. We tried to get a CSA this year, but that failed when their crop was wiped out by the hot weather.

So why care? Local fruits and vegetables are often cheaper, fresher, and contain more nutrients than the stuff on the store shelves. Plus buying them supports the local economy. Also, a lot of times the food tastes better and lasts longer in the fridge (store-bought eggs tastes like nothing to me now).

Local products aren't always cheaper, but they are often fresher and definitely support local businesses. They also both save on the environmental costs of transporting food thousands of miles. This one is harder for us. We mostly stick to locally made condiments, honey, and bread (and of course finding affordable local beer is not an issue).

It seems like a no-brainer to me that local food is better, but I'm curious what other people think about it. Do you even think about it?

After watching Ingredients, I was excited to go to the Farmer's Market and sought out things we don't typically buy there, like garlic. Aaron said it made him want to be a farmer (he is still sad that his Dad didn't take over his grandparents corn farm). I encourage you to check the documentary out, its just an hour long!

** This was a real bummer this summer when our favorite provider at the Farmer's Market said it was too hot for his hens to lay enough eggs to sell and we didn't have anywhere else to go for eggs.

1 comment:

  1. Continue your support! The support given to local or region production allows that market to grow and become self sustaining for the region.

    I personally started back into the "canning" world and put up dill pickles, sweets and plan on doing applesauce for the winter supply. You know what is in your food and not (ie: additives) and you then don't purchase product supplied from India and China.

    It's a challenge that when met is very fulfilling.