For many years, I would drive to my small-town grocery store and pick up food for me and my family. Little did I know, I was completely oblivious and blind to the horrors and pitfalls of industrial agriculture. At that time, I couldn't see what was so wrong with an industry that provided our country with cheap, affordable food right in the aisles of our local grocery stores. The up-and-coming local food movement, however, vastly changed my opinion about who has our back when it comes to providing us with healthy, sustainable food.
I'll never forget the first time I read Michael Pollan's book "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto." It was like my eyes and mind were awoken to a world I never knew existed, and that world was right outside in the roots of the earth around me. For years, we as a country have been devouring food that is stripped of its necessary nutrients and packaged into wrappers and boxes. Not only is this food making us unhealthy, it is even making us sick. It would be nice to think that our country would protect us from such woes, but industrial agriculture is one massively protected giant thanks to the USDA.
Through self-study and research, I've discovered that going local not only improves one's access to healthy, afford greens and meats, it also helps reduce the cost of food transportation, improves our towns' economies, cuts down on international shipping costs, and reduces the cost of packaging and processing industrial food. For those of you who are looking to go more local, consider these three arenas in accessing local produce and meats.
I've heard many people complain that they aren't able to get farm-fresh food in their towns, but I can almost guarantee you that they aren't looking hard enough. Farms are distributed all throughout the nation, and it's likely there is one close to your area. Farmers markets help each of us build a connection to the people who are sourcing our food and by doing that we are able to know who to hold accountable for the quality of our cuisine. It's hard to know who to hold accountable for the food we purchase at the grocery store, especially when the maker of your food is relatively a mystery. So do yourself a favor and track down your local farmers market and get to know who is feeding you and your family.
Picture Credit - Pinterest
Community gardens may be tough to track down simply because it takes a bigger group of people to run them, and a lot of individuals don't want to make that big of a commitment. Look around at local churches, schools, neighborhoods, and community groups to see if there is a place in your town or city that has a garden. If so, see how you can get involved in planting, growing, and utilizing the food that grows there. If you don't find one, it might be a good idea to try and get a group of individuals together to start your own community garden. Sure, it'll be a bit hectic in the beginning to track down an available plot of land and front the cost of seeds, but the returns of starting a community garden are both infinite and delicious.
Believe it or not, there is a way to grow food in the comfort of your home. If you have some available land to grow on, perhaps you should consider building a garden in your backyard. The upkeep isn't all that hard, and once the garden is built, you'll be able to utilize it in the years to come. A lot of people avoid starting gardens because they don't know how to build one or manage the greens that grown in them. Well, frankly put, that is inexcusable. The number of resources available to people interested in growing a home garden is absurd. And for those of you who don't have a garden, there is no reason you can purchase small planters or herb gardens to help you grow food inside your home.
Sometimes we can improve the environment simply by embracing small changes. Going local with your cuisine will help improve your health as well as the world's environment.
This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes for the online classes blog. Barbara Jolie is an avid writer and blogger, interested in all things education. For questions or comments email her at email@example.com.