Welcome to Good Dirt Radio, reporting on positive change…taking root.
While large corporate agri-business often fails to provide clean, healthy food for consumers, an alternate food economy is sprouting up, around the country. A resurgence of age-old Farmers Markets is providing jobs and locally produced, wholesome foods, all while using less energy.
Many farmers’ markets create a festive environment with music, dancing and fun activities for kids. Most also provide an outlet for home made dry-goods and a venue for local artisans.
Katrina Blair is a local grower, teacher and writer… a regular at the Durango, CO farmer’s market. She points out real benefits of locally produced food.
Blair: If you compared local agriculture, the organic food that’s right here today, with something that was grown commercially, the benefits are so vast. You’ve got incredible freshness, you’re putting your dollar right into the local community and you’re spending your dollar in a way that makes so much sense. You’re not giving it to the corporate agricultural practices which use pesticides, herbicides, inorganic fertilizers. Instead, you’re giving it to the local farmers who are using organic fertilizers, growing it right here in your backyard. The local food may actually cost a little bit more and yet if you look at the real cost of food that has been trucked or shipped from far away, all that petroleum goes into CO2 emission which actually increases global warming and that’s a huge cost to our health and our quality of life on earth.
Documented studies show that petroleum based pesticides and herbicides, and industrial farming techniques are damaging the long term health of the soil over vast regions , resulting in as much as a 30% decline in crop yields. Organic farming practices, on the other hand, use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides and produce higher yields from healthy, sustainably managed soils.
The James family has practiced wholistic ranching for 45 years. They stay busy at their Farmers’ Market by selling grass fed beef, organic vegetables, eggs, home made cheese and more. Dave James says its all about the soil.
James: What is happening to the soil, when we graze it properly and don’t use fertilizers, insecticides or pesticides, that’s what’ s great about our beef, is what we’re doing to the land. How it benefits the microorganisms in the land and the earthworms. So, oh, and then by the way, we have beef, or we have pork or we have cheese. So when it rains, the water goes right in the ground and it keeps going in the ground, it soaks up the water when it rains. These grass plants are so robust, they’re just fantastic, they’re so healthy ….that’s what’s important to us. Ya, we’re living our dream.
Kelly West, at the Taos, NM Farmers’ Market deals in whole grain breads and organic, local, grass fed beef…. as a local currency.
West: As a consumer myself, I love the products that we get here. I trade for products, we buy products here. It means a lot to me to know where my food is coming from, to know the people that are actually raising my food or making my food. And I feel like I actually contribute that to the people around here too, to my customers.
At a Farmers’ Market in Hanalei, Kauai, Josh Dubin says it’s a lifestyle choice. He points out a more subtle reason to buy local food.
Dubin: One of the biggest benefits to eating your food from locally produced organic farmers’ markets is getting to know the farmers and perhaps even getting to know the farm. And when you see where your food comes from and you have a relationship both to the farmer and to the land from which its grown, you enjoy eating the food that much more and you gain the health of that relationship.
Megan Johnson shares her observations about local food and good health.
Johnson: One of the things I like to talk about is the freshness factor. When people eat local food that’s grown from the earth around us, not only does it taste better but they feel better, their health is better. You can see their eyes are shining.
And finally, we met Jenn De Rosa who sells goods from a local bakery, at her farmers’ market. She tells it like it is.
De Rosa: Ah, it’s a blast. This is the heartbeat of the town, right here at the Farmers’ Market. It doesn’t get any better or fresher than this!
Farmers’ Markets provide an alternate source for fresh and wholesome, locally produced foods and can help reduce major causes of climate change. To find a Farmer’s Market near you, check with your city or county or just ask around. And, please visit our website, at gooddirtradio.org, for more ideas.
I’m Tami Graham and I’m Tom Bartels. Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.