Friday, August 15, 2008

Eat local for a sustained environment & economy

Who's your farmer?

by Jeneiene Schaffer

TUCSON -- Do you ever wonder if the food you eat has traveled to more exotic places than you have? Out of season produce travels an average 1,500 miles to get to our plates. You've cut back on driving, and now it's time to reign in your food as well. The health of you, your family, and indeed our earth depends on it.

Eating locally has really caught on. I remember reading an article last year in the New York Times about a young couple with a toddler living in Manhattan who decided to eat everything for a year within a 100 mile radius. Then, there's the captivating and inspirational chronicle of eating locally written by beloved author Barbara Kingsolver called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Written after she and her family moved to their southeast farm, it show cases how eating local food from family farms and your own garden can take back our health and communities from multi-national corporate control.

Starting September 15th, Tucson's Food Conspiracy Co-Op located on 412 N. 4th Avenue, is hosting an Eat Local America Challenge. In cities around the country, people will be taking this challenge to eat food sourced closer to home. For tips on how to prepare and for more info visit the co-op's website.

Here at the Patterson/Schaffer south side ranchita we've been doing many things as a family to eat and support local foods. We belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Every week we collect our share of produce from local farm Agua Linda. We raise healthy hens on organic vegetable table scraps. Our girls produce yummy eggs and Ruby has a blast tossing scratch feed to them. I grow a nice backyard vegetable garden twice a year. When the garden is fallow, I let our ladies scratch, chase and eat bugs, and poop fertilizer. During the monsoons, we collect rain water in two cisterns which will help to water the garden and fig trees. This year I discovered an added bonus: I just sold 15 pounds of mission figs to the co-op for $46. Sweet!

Have fun on your Eat Local America Challenge! Supporting local farmers and growing your own food is patriotic and the best homeland security there is.


Anonymous said...

great article, jeneiene! you guys are inspiring- collecting rain water, producing your own eggs, etc. is a fabulous example for many! our pomegranats are ripening and I always take them to school for teachers to feast on. yummy!

Jeneiene Schaffer said...

Thank you for your kind words! Our ladies get to enjoy our pomegranats--one year I'd like to learn to make jelly with them, along with prickly pear fruits.

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