October 17, 2007

Buying Locally Grown Food

When I go home and visit my folks there is one topic of conversation that comes up often…. that most people these days don't know where the food comes from. Most people today don’t know who grew their food or how and where was it raised.

My parents are farmers who are in their 60’s. Whenever my husband and I come and visit and it’s dinner time my father tells us about how things were when he was growing up. He says when he was a kid my grandmother would go to a local butcher in town that would help her pick out the perfect pork roast or the best steak. That butcher would not only cut the meat in front of her, but also knew exactly what farm the meat came from.

Times sure have changed. Today, most everyone shops at the supermarket (where you buy food, clothes, shampoo, medicine, garden supplies, pet food, birthday cards all at the same store). All meat purchases are pre cut and packages and it’s almost impossible to find a whole chicken.

Food has become so impersonal. Today, we don’t know the farmers that raised and produced our food. We don’t know the process the food went through from the farm to the family table. Do you know that most all food Americans consume today is trucked in 1,500 miles before it reaches our local supermarket! 1,500 MILES! It’s a fact that food that travels that many miles looses much of its flavor and nutrition. If we want to make food more personal again we need to start buying local food.

Being a farm kid it is important to me to know where my food comes from. All beef in my refrigerator comes from my family’s beef farm. I buy chicken either in the store (but I try to only buy chicken that is raised in Missouri) or I purchase from some FFA students that raise free-range chicken. Lamb and pork come from some producers I know in southwest Missouri, I place three orders a year with two families. I do however, purchase Burgers Smokehouse pork products too because this company is a Missouri product.

I try to buy all food products I can local – and my definition of local is made in Missouri. What produce I don’t grow in my garden I purchase from the farmers’ market. I also purchase Missouri honey from the beekeepers, goat cheese, walnuts, pecans, ice cream, breads, jams and jellies….you get my point. It’s really not that hard to find local products, you just have to be more selective in your purchasing decisions. I can buy many food products at area farmers’ markets or I can find a lot of what I need by searching on the AgriMissouri Buyer’s Guide.

Top 10 Reasons to Buy Locally Grown Food
1.) Helps to sustain the environment
2.) Promotes tourism within the area
3.) Grown locally, not traveling 1,500 miles from field to table
4.) Promotes healthy food choices
5.) Maximum freshness
6.) Exceptional taste
7.) Unique varieties
8.) Nutritious and affordable
9.) Helps to support our family farms
10.) Retains food dollars in the community

1 comment:

Jules said...

I couldn't agree more & it IS getting harder to find out where your food is coming from. When I'm in doubt or can't find something, I like to go to Braums. I'm so thrilled they are selling meats & things now. And I can't wait until we get our own Farmers Marker this spring. I'll be there every weekend!!