In summary, the goal of a local food diet may be admirable and may benefit our communities, but the cards are stacked against it. Is the local food movement elitist?
Each episode tells the story of a different chef from around the world. Their dishes look more like exquisite sculptures than food and their tasting menus cost hundreds of dollars per person. Each minute TV episode gives the chef a chance to tell the story of how he or she got into cooking and started a restaurant, plus the challenges and successes along the way. Many but not all of the restaurants featured in the show are urban, in places like Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Bangkok.
But nearly every episode follows the chefs to farms, vineyards, ranches and markets to track down the food they source for their restaurants. Some of these chefs even own their own farms outside the city. The connection to the source is vital for them, especially given the fact that farm-to-table is such a popular concept right now.
These chefs are not grabbing a bag of cent-a-pound bananas or processed flour at the supermarket. Most of their ingredients are locally-produced, with precision and dedication.
Is this only something that famous chefs have the time and money for? For another, the cost of sourcing everything locally would be prohibitive for many of us—at least it is right now.
How can we incorporate local food into our lives? Start by making good use of land. Here are some ways to help encourage that: 1.
Use any space you have to cultivate your own food. We devote so much of our land to parking lots and stroads , and more to empty lawns where, perhaps the kids occasionally play or we maybe sit outside to barbecue, but most of the space is just grass or bushes, and usually unused at that. How much more prosperous would our cities and towns be if strong citizens chose to use some of that land for growing food? My tiny balcony garden. Currently growing: rosemary, chives, cilantro, flowers, plus basil and tomatoes not pictured.
If you can afford it, buy it. But when I do, I buy the local stuff. I challenge everyone who reads this to seriously consider how much you spend on groceries and other items in your daily life. Certainly there are plenty of people who need to choose the cheapest possible items in the grocery store, but there are plenty more who could spend a few extra bucks every week and maybe decrease their spending elsewhere to support local farm businesses.
Turns out the food usually tastes better too. Make SNAP benefits an acceptable currency at your local farmers market. Many farmers markets now accept SNAP benefits food stamps as currency, which is an important step in improving equal access to healthy local food. Check if your neighborhood farmers market participates and if not, here are some resources to get them signed up.
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