Feb 12 - Local Food - Week 2
Written by Christine Laymon of farmfolkways.com, Yellowbird Member
My second Winter CSA box was full of surprises, including blueberries! That’s right a package of Ohio blueberries that were picked in season and then packaged and frozen by Wholesome Valley Farm. And then there were mushrooms, and carrots and these really sweet red onions that caramelized beautifully, apples, 3 types of greens, a sampling of butter and a package of oats! It was a wonderful blend of winter greens, storage fruits and vegetables and value added farm items. For all my farmer friends out there please take note of the all the ways we can increase our revenue streams by thinking outside of the box on how we market and sell the whole food products we produce.
In addition to the contents of the CSA box I purchased items through the store. This included a 25 pound bag of organic rolled oats, a 2 lb roll of butter, cheeses, 2 2lb bags of spinach, granola, 2 5 lb bags of apples, a quart of goats’ milk, and a few bags of red winter wheat berries. The eggs were a bonus for buying from the store.
From this we have been eating for the past week, and have only ventured to the natural foods store for nuts and dried fruits, some gluten free spaghetti noodles for a last minute dinner, tea, and a few avocados and bananas.
I would say that our food bill for this two week period came to approximately $250, this includes my CSA share, purchases from the store and the handful of things we purchased at the natural foods store. One of the issues that I struggled with as a farmer when I was running an on farm market and CSA was the idea of food accessibility. There are many factors that limit one’s ability to access fresh local foods, or for that matter nutrient dense foods. Whether we are talking about food desserts, or people living on a fix income, or even just cultural norms that inhibit an individual’s exposure to and acceptance of whole foods. I would recommend Wendell Berry’s book, Bringing it to the Table to anyone interested in the social issues surrounding food and accessibility. I’ve brought these issues up because I want to explore the idea that CSAs, organic foods, plant abundant diets, natural food stores, and clean eating are not exclusive to any certain race, class, gender, socio-economic or geographic limits. I realize that I sit in a place where this way of eating and living is quite natural to me, it’s the way my parents fed me as a child, it’s the way my friends feed their families, it is a subject I studied in college and my bookshelves are filled with books about it, even my audible library is predominantly food, farming, and sustainable living. So this is a part of who I am, but what about someone who is not me?
I believe strongly that this food should be available to everyone, and that everyone should want to have it. But I also realize that there are many people who do not have easy access to these foods, perhaps they only have a corner bodega in their neighborhood and it doesn’t carry fresh fruits and vegetables, maybe they have grown up in a community where eating whole foods is no longer the cultural norm so they are unfamiliar with them, maybe they are on a fixed income or work two jobs and so they make their food choices based on time and money. But, what if they could? There is research that shows that a diet that includes a high amount of whole plants, whole grains, and small amounts of meat and dairy can lower a persons chances of developing diabetes and heart disease and many other ailments. What if the cultural norm shifted? What if we became a nation focused on wellness, who’s power lay in the health of its people? What if small farms and diversified agriculture began to hold as much lobbying power as commodity organizations?
Because these questions are in my head and my heart I think that this next week I will look at how our family spends our grocery money, and how a similar meal plan could be achieved on various budgets.
- Christine Laymon
Read more of Christine’s posts at www.farmfolkways.com