Thursday, April 22, 2010

Living Green with Farm to Table Meals

Living green and eating greens is an important part of any ethical consumer’s day.

Living green and eating greens is an important part of any ethical consumer’s day. As a society we have dissociated ourselves from our culture of food. Yet focusing on bringing our food straight from local farms to our dining rooms is a growing phenomena. With Jamie Oliver trying to transform school cafeterias from Mystery Meats to delicious and healthy alternatives, the Farm to Table meal hasn’t been this in style in a long time.

Where is the closest farm? Why not your own backyard or windowsill? Supplementing your meals with homegrown vegetables and fruits grown on your own turf is the smallest mileage food will travel! That means fresher food, cleaner air, and a direct return on your investment in seeds. For those hard to grow items including animals: Local Harvest, The Eat Well Guide and Community Supported Agriculture are all great places to get a jumpstart on sourcing your food locally.

Beyond fresh food and reduced food mileage Farm to Table helps with three things for living green: accountability, local economies, healthier environments. When you are purchasing food from Farmer Joe versus Corporation Joe, the Farmer has a greater incentive to stand by his product and provide you with the healthiest thing possible. Corporations on the other hand often win over Farmer Joe in terms of market share because of one simple factor: price. Hidden in that “low price” are some very high social and ecological costs.

One of the key social costs is the vitality of local economies. By investing in Farm to Table meals, you are living green while saving everyone ‘green’. For every $1 invested in local economies, 68 cents stays in the local economy. That means that by supporting Farmer Joe, you are able to fuel more money into your local system trickling into improved infrastructure and a strengthened social fabric.

The ecological impact of large-scale agriculture and animal husbandry is devastating, especially for those living green. The amount of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides used into today’s agriculture including genetically modified organisms is so astounding that many ecologists and farmers do not believe the ecological system will be able to recover. Given that these practices are fueled by none other than us, the common consumer, it is easy to quickly remove yourself from aspects of this global cycle. Buying local food grown under ethical and ecologically safe conditions can reduce your impact, and take a “vote” away from large-scale systems.

Food is not a product, nor is it simply fuel. It is at the essence of our beings to respect and thrive based on the food we consume. Respecting the natural cycles of that food is the first step in making a monumental shift toward living green and ultimately creating a positive impact on our environment.

For Earth Day this year, try to attend a Farm to Table event available at local restaurants, support your Farmer’s markets, and see if you just may have a green thumb under those manicured nails after all. Happy growing!

Photo Credit: Simply Local Food

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