Spring ahead: You decide what to eat

Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2016 12:30 am
By Tessa Edick
For Columbia-Greene Media

 

Farmers plus economic development equals better health for you and community.

 

It’s time for a paradigm shift in food, one conceptual worldview must be replaced by another and our lives depend on it. We must commit to better food ways.

 

I want to change the way you eat. I want you to think about food differently. It’s the taste of fresh food and your proximity to it that is important.

 

Think about meeting your farmer with the closest degree of separation possible.

 

Think about it because you care about your health and the health of the people you love. And let’s face it — because you also care about how you look and feel and, well, planet earth.

 

As much as it is your human right to breathe fresh air, sleep, access clean water and land — good food is not a privilege. But changing our broken food system and shifting the supply chain is a 20-year project and we all play a part to make that so — everyday, just by eating.

 

Do you know what you eat? Are the food choices you make with your budget clearly indicating what you are willing to feed yourself and pay the farmer a fair living wage too? Do you value convenience more than health? What does cancer cost?

 

The future of food starts now — and with you. Change what you eat by first choosing to opt out of processed food.

 

If residents in the Hudson Valley and New York City spent just 10 percent of their food dollars on regional food, that would translate to a whopping $4.5 billion in food sales alone. That’s the potential — about nine times the currently yearly sales of all regional farm products. Imagine the jobs and impact on the family farm!

 

With a commitment to buying local you also reinvest in your local economy and drive demand. That in turn multiples seven times for every dollar spent and the bonus – fresh quality food prevents obesity and illness and drives volume and economic development.

 

Make responsible choices and commit to honest food. It’s win, win, win! Return farming to a noble profession by thinking of farmers like talented chefs and know that without these stewards of the land, you will, in fact, starve. Shake the hands that feed you for food that not only tastes better, but is better for your body too.

 

Pay more and buy direct. Invest in good food systems to alter the supply chain back to the farm. It provides a clear demand to the farmer about the food we really want at our tables, in our schools and at every single public place we eat. Prevention is everything.

 

Demand transparency, truth, nutritious and safe, fresh food. And refuse to eat it if it is not! Poison for profits is their game; you can opt out and eat better.

 

Our guardians of terroir — our farmers — are the protectors of food security and safety. With them, we can feed our children and the food insecure, properly. In the process we can lift up our local economies in rural America too. Unlike the wheeling and dealing in supply chain practices selling claims you want to hear over nutrition and packaging worth more than the ingredients inside we need change.

 

Plan a trip. Meet your farmer. Touch a seed. Plant it. Add sun, water and love. Harvest, cook, eat. Repeat. It’s easy to FarmOn!

 

This may mean a fundamental change in habits: joining a CSA, shopping a farmers market or from a market that buys from local farms. Find that opportunity nearby at least once a week, if not three times a day. It is vital to your health and the health of your community — more than money or convenience or manufactured taste that is making us sick and fat with addicting flavor.

 

We can practice gardening as a sport and plant gardens that feed with our kids — and they love the activity! Together we can plant in schools and communities, historic homes, universities, stadiums, rooftops and our own yards.

 

We can honor schools as a food “hub” and distribute fresh produce from school gardens to school salad bars and food banks, giving access to the public in need of fresh food to protect good health and promote commerce.

 

Lift up your rural economy with family farms by integrating them into the supply chain and connecting consumers to locally grown food.

 

Put scratch kitchens back into the school cafeterias. Teach kids to cook as part of the curriculum with connections to the elderly, grandparents and vets.

 

For succession through generations, garden-based learning and intergenerational opportunities are vital if we are to pass down traditions, heirloom seed and tending to the terroir of multigenerational farms in a commitment to hard work and healthy lives. Hard work never tasted better. Good food never made a bigger difference. It’s simple but we have to make the choice collectively.

 

Back to the farm we must go! Relearn our agrarian roots and re-acquaint society with how to eat. It starts with seed, soil and animals — and what “they” eat matters too.

 

Spring is here. Get outside and plant. Get your community involved. And visit a farm. Ours is always open. FarmOn!

 

NOTE: A seed sale and edible garden talk will be held 1:30-5 p.m. March 19 at the Copake Grange, Empire Road in Copake.

 

To contact Tessa Edick, email tessa@farmonfoundation.org or on Twitter @FarmOnFarmOn.

 

Copyright © 2016 Columbia-Greene Media