Eating Local

Looking for an easy entry into the local food movement?  Already into local foods and want more?  Wonder whether local meats can really differ from what’s in the supermarket?  Today I’m excited to talk about an amazing local foods speaker coming to UNC, navigating the local farmers’ markets and area restaurants that serve local food.

So, this past fall break, I almost drove 3 hours to buy chicken and eggs from a farm I’m enamored with, and I’ve been a vegetarian for 5 years.  This farm – Polyface, Inc. – is the farm of Joel Salatin, a third generation farmer.  If you’ve watched Food, Inc., read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, or been around the local food/sustainable agriculture movement, then you’ve probably already heard of Joel Salatin.  His farm is known for producing food (particularly beef, pork and poultry) that’s beyond organic.  The farming practices at Polyface are creative, innovative and animal-friendly.  If you eat meat, have ever thought about where your food comes from, or wanted to know if there’s a better way than run-of-the-mill industrial agriculture, then I hope you’re as excited as I am that Joel is coming to UNC!

The event “Local Food: Talk and Taste” features alternative farmer and local food advocate Joel Salatin and is on Wednesday April 13th at 5:00 PM. The event is sponsored by the UNC Sustainability Office as a part of Earth Week celebration.  Joel is an entertaining and dynamic speaker, and if that’s not enough, delicious local food tastings will follow prepared in part by one of my new favorite restaurants: Vimala’s Curryblossom Café.

Stuck in class Wednesday evening?  Well, you can still get into local foods by checking out one of the area’s farmers’ markets or local restaurants that serve local.   Here’s a quick guide to when, where and how to navigate a market successfully. Continue reading

Straight from the Farm

My first real adventure onto a farm was nearly five years ago.  Now, I’d been strawberry, blueberry and apple picking before and as a kid my family even went to a tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree (that is, after the disastrous year where we cut one from our yard and shared the holiday with a houseful of ants).  Anyway, this was my first time to a farm that produces organic and sustainably grown vegetables, fruits, and grass fed beef.  At my farm (I know it’s not really mine, but I kind of feel like it is) I volunteered every week from May to November and got a share of the produce in exchange for 4 hours of sweaty, but fun labor (I have to say, there’s nothing like a crazy okra fight with the overgrown pods!).  I learned to harvest potatoes, tomatoes, squash, peas, beans, corn, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, peppers, and more.  I can honestly say that meeting the farmers and being in the dirt with the vegetables changed my relationship with food.  As the weather gets warmer, I can tell it’s getting closer to CSA season and time for me to go to my farm again! Continue reading

Decisions, decisions…

How often do we realize all the decisions we make every day about what we put in our body?  There are so many issues that can impact the foods we choose.

What questions do you ask yourself?

Is this food healthy?

Will I feel satisfied after I eat this?

How long will I feel full?

Is it convenient?

Can I afford this?

How much time will it take to prepare?

How was this grown?  Harvested?  Processed?

Was it grown sustainably?  Organically?  Locally?  With fair labor practices?

How far did this food travel?  How will this packaging impact the environment?

Are you currently putting the questions you want in the forefront?  Is one of these other issues actually more important to you?

So, next time you put something in your mouth, head to the grocery store, or decide on a restaurant, take a second to pause and think about what’s most important to you.

Curious about finding more information regarding the health, environmental and social impacts of foods?  Check out the