How Does Your (Food Source) Garden Grow?
Looking forward to the 12th year of the new millennium, I can’t help pondering the changes since 2000. Cell phones were the beginning and a few short years later you can access everything under the sun from movies to music to a satellite map of your mom’s house in Michigan, complete with a view of her front door. Social networking has reduced the six degrees of separation to four degrees, so I’m told. Someone somewhere figured that out with a complex math program, which hopefully has another more constructive purpose.
It seems though that some things may be coming full circle. There’s a growing awareness that perhaps, just perhaps, the 21st century food to table delivery systems may not be serving us in a healthy way. Though it’s nice to have kiwis and blueberries or broccoli and spinach available all year no matter where you live, the farming methods that enable access to this cornucopia of produce and affordable meat are showing alarming signs of weakness in the form of massive recalls as the result of contamination, the sources of which even the FDA seems to have trouble tracking.
While organic food markets aren’t a new concept, the appearance of organic produce and meats on supermarket shelves has vastly increased in the past couple of years. A good thing in concept, but in light of the average American family’s food budget, organic isn’t always an option. Many are finding it difficult to afford fresh produce at any price, much less at the higher price points associated with organic farming methods.
This is all a source of concern for me. Is eating organic the only way to eat healthy? Skeptic that I am, I assigned writer Lucy Adams to talk with local experts on the subject. What does it all mean? Is it worth the money? Where can you buy natural and organically grown foods? You can read her findings in “The Great Food Conundrum” on page 15 and decide what works for you and your family.
The bottom line for me is taste. I grew up eating homegrown vegetables and I know what they should taste like. Fact is, it’s unlikely that a tomato, squash, cucumber or green bean will have much taste when it’s been harvested before it’s ripe and shipped hundreds of miles to your local supermarket—even if it’s certified organic. So my goal is to eat locally grown, in season vegetables as much as possible. If we could turn back the clock and bring back the truck farmers who were once important sources of seasonal food, there might not be the need to purchase organic to eat healthy. We would know the people growing our food and could oversee see firsthand their farming practices. We as consumers could play a direct role in “policing” how our food is grown. And as an added, but significant, bonus we would make a healthy contribution to the local economy and leave a smaller environmental footprint.