Within the last week about 20 friends emailed me this ad for a local foods presentation that was held on the BGSU main campus:
The Center for Environmental Programs is sponsoring a presentation on January 27th at 4:30 in 274 Overman on locally available food. Joshua Pribanic of Eric Country Coalition for Local Resources will discuss community supported agriculture (CSA). John and Diane Riehm from Riehm Farms and Kurt Bench from Shared Legacy Farm then will discuss the local produce programs that they offer to the region.
My Honors Food Theme class meets at the same time, so we took a field trip to Overman Hall.
And, thanks to well-informed presenters, we learned a lot about Industrial Food Systems vs Local Food Systems.
The three pieces of information really stuck with me. 1.) According to The Erie Wire's Food System presentation, "Since the beginning of the 21st century we've experienced almost 50 epidemic food-borne illness outbreaks that have resulted from the Industrial Food System." 2.) Buying organic doesn't solve the problems presented by the Industrial Food System because many organic companies are part of the industry. 3.) Ohioans consume only 2% or less of food grown in Ohio.
I've been making it a point to buy Ohio products whenever possible or from our surrounding states, especially Michigan, when Ohio products aren't available. But what's difficult for me is the produce situation. During the spring, summer, and even fall, we eat up to 95% local produce. But I just don't have the freezer space or time to can, so during the winter I buy mostly organic produce from California and try to buy from stores that showcase "homegrown" foods such as The Anderson's and Meijer. I feel guilty sometimes, but this is Ohio, and I do my best to buy local when I can. I just wish Ohio had the same climate as California.
Last year the guilt overwhelmed me, and we ate very little veggies all winter. And I was more miserable than I am now. Sometimes this battle against Industrial Foods vs Local Foods feels so overwhelming--to the point I wonder what difference I'm making.
But I know I am making a difference. During the spring, summer, and fall, I feel elated when I eat a tomato that grew organically in a garden of a farmer I personally know. Nothing can replace that feeling of being connected to my food. And we buy local meats from a family farm that are grass-fed or from Bellville Brothers Meat Market in Bowling Green. And the meats we get year-round from these fantastic people.
What's inspiring about this movement is the momentum and the hope. While I am IN LOVE with our local farmer (who happens to be one of the instructors in our Composition program), I was really excited to learn about Riehm Farms and their CSA, which I think would be awesome to join. But I'd still buy a lot from Homestead Gardens, especially their potatoes, which I'm craving right now. At this moment...
Local tastes so much better.