Monday, January 19, 2009

food supply

One of issues I have come to care about most is sustainable agriculture: farms producing food indefinitely without damaging the ecosystem. It may not sound like a big deal, but once you learn about what industrial agriculture is doing to our economy, our farmers and our environment... you might also find it worthwhile to look into!

Mushrooms from the Bayou City Farmers Market.

My husband and I became interested in sustainability last summer after we both read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I would highly recommend both of those books to anyone interested in food! They really highlight the problems with industrial agriculture. Of course it wouldn't be possible to feed everyone if we didn't mechanize the process a little bit, but if people were more aware of what was going on and could make informed decisions, everyone would benefit.

So of course I've been researching farms near Nashville - I want to secure our food supply! It's going to be a very personal thing-- we've already purchased a CSA (community supported agriculture) share from Bugtussle Biodynamic Organic Farm (what a mouthful!) They're in Kentucky, but they deliver to Nashville every week. You can find a CSA program near you by searching Local Harvest.org (they have all kinds of great resources there).

What's a CSA program? Essentially you're helping a farm with expenses for the growing season. In exchange, they bring you a bunch of vegetables each week! We purchased a small share for $340, which sounds like a lot as a lump sum, but it will provide 20 weeks of produce to us (essentially $17 a week for fresh, local food).

Farm fresh eggs - feathers included

I'm so excited that we were finally able to participate in a CSA program. I'm really looking forward to it! We are also looking into purchasing from West Wind Farms on occasion. They're a certified organic farm that also delivers to Nashville. Their prices for meat (everything from chicken to lamb to goat and back) and raw milk products are amazing.

Here's a tip on raw milk: it's delicious and nutrituous. But it's illegal for farmers to sell for human consumption. So anywhere you can buy raw milk, everyone pretends it's for pet consumption - we even had to sign a form saying so at one farm to get raw cow's milk (and that was the best milk I've ever tasted, though I might be part cat)! If you're interested in finding a farm near you that sells REAL milk, you can search Real Milk.org - it's worth it!

Just a small rant about raw milk: It is perfectly safe if you get it from a farmer that you trust. Milk must be pasteurized to be sold in grocery stores because it's coming from cows who are usually absolutely filthy and neglected. That's where your supermarket meat comes from too - cows who are forced to live in tiny pens together, shuffling around in their own poop. They have to be fed antibiotics and they're all sick because they're being fed corn (which their bodies are not made to digest) so they'll get fat faster. Pastured cows (who are allowed to live normal, happy lives, eating grass) are healthy and so is their milk!

2 comments:

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  2. Hi Rebecca,
    I'm with you on this one. My husband and I own a small acreage in rural Iowa. We raise our own chickens (For company and eggs, but we don't eat the chickens. I can't bring myself to do it. I love them too much) and grow our own produce. You can't beat it. Our chickens are free range. Our rooster's name is Hugh Hefner. The hen's names are too numerous to list. LOL. Anyway, I agree. Buy from responsible farms. The industrial farms are destroying the planet, our immune systems, the animals they raise, and smaller family farms. I wish more people would do what you're doing.

    Liz

    ps. Before I quit work to come home and write, I was a hearing specialist. I managed two offices here in Iowa and ran a free clinic for low income people. The incision is painless and perfectly safe. Don't worry if you need to have it done. : )

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