Welcome to Good Dirt Radio, where daily lifestyle choices connect… to a healthier world.
Today’s monopolistic food corporations, mass-produce our food with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, in dead soil. Or, its processed into nutrition-free, artificially sweetened and colored products, preserved for long shelf life. About 80% of Big Ag’s industrial foods now contain GMO ingredients, recently shown to be connected to a variety of health conditions. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are flocking to organic foods to preserve their own health and that of the biosphere.
A blooming, local food movement has taken off with eaters and growers, young and old, providing clean, nutritious, fresh produce for their families and communities. Citizens are developing mutually supportive food partnerships, through Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs, by investing in their local farmers. Along with Farmers Markets, CSAs may be one of the best ways to meet and buy food from local producers, boosting the local economy at the same time.
We spoke with Linda Illsley, who earned culinary and international relations degrees, ‘cheffed’ at a five star restaurant in Holland and was a social and food issues activist, in London. Through her Linda’s Local Cafe, in Durango, CO she provides local, organic, gluten-free meals and runs a prepared and fresh food CSA.
Illsley: Community supported agriculture is a contract that you enter into as an eater or consumer with the farmer and as part of the contract, you are giving the farmer a payment ahead of time and in turn the farmer is going to commit to giving you produce every week of the growing season. Food that is wholesome and real and that doesn’t have all of the chemicals in it. You can either choose to pay your farmer today or you pay your doctor tomorrow, your choice.
CSA food is fresh, and doesn’t have the typical food miles associated with shipments of food that come from long distances.
Rob Terkowitz is an attorney and inventor who feeds his family fresh produce from the Lagare Farm in Charleston, NC. He goes after industrial contaminators and represents whistle-blowers in court. And he’s clear about the benefits of local produce over Big Ag’s chemical based food.
Terkowitz: We look at our membership in the CSA as being a family membership and we love it and its such a great opportunity to teach our children about the importance of utilizing and supporting local farms. We eat much healthier, we eat a lot more vegetables. And we know that they’re not using pesticides or herbicides so we know its wholesome and fresh. Any time you can have a source of food that’s local, its certainly going to result in less carbon in the atmosphere. You have a whole lot less energy that’s required to ship it and to package it. You know, I feel good that what we’re doing is also helping the environment as well as the local economy.
Linley Dixon is a master, organic farmer with a PhD in plant science. She also consults for the Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit, watchdogging industrial food systems. A grower since childhood, Dixon started Adobe House Farms, in La Plata County, CO. She says CSAs help people get to know their farmers and where their food comes from.
Dixon: One of the biggest benefits of joining a CSA is you’re promoting farming practices that are incredibly diverse which really prevent the need for any synthetic pesticides. You get to go to the farm, you get to see how they’re doing things. So you really are in touch with knowing how your farmer is farming and you get a great amount of produce for the cost, its usually less than wholesale. And organic farmers put a lot of organic matter back in the soil, which helps mitigate climate change. Actually, CO2 is incorporated back into the soil and that carbon is slowly released as nutrients. And this increases local soil fertility, local food security and nutrients are slowly released so they’re not polluting the local waterways with excess nitrogen.
Illsley: CSAs are the simplest way in which you can have a direct impact on what is happening on a global basis. 11
For more info on the benefits of CSAs, please visit us at gooddirtradio.org where positive eco-reports are always free.
Change happens when enough people embrace healthy, resource and pollution saving solutions, helping change the course, of climate history.
I’m Tom Bartels and I’m Tami Graham. Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.