Organic Housekeepers, cleaning with a conscience, saving the earth one tub at a time.Local cherries from Edwards, Colorad, Farmers' market

Get food when it’s Ripe
Ripe is a permanent farmers stand located at the Northstar Center in the parking lot across from Cafe Milano in Edwards. The brainchild of Mikey Hovey and Gretchen Schramm, Ripe will offer locally grown fruit and veggies and other Colorado goods, including quinoa in bulk. “Its our vision to engage, educate, and excite our community about purchasing and eating locally. We offer honest products and passionate service, ripe and from the heart,” says Schramm. Ripe is open from 2-8 p.m., contact Schramm with questions at gretchen_schramm@hotmail.com or visit Ripe Colorado Produce on facebook or call 970-569-3207.

Three simple reasons
I could wax on and on about why I love yellow Roma tomatoes in July or spring onions with dirt still clinging to them, but here are three very simple reasons to incorporate more locally grown food into your diet:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Add nutrition and taste to your life
  • Stabilize your source of sustenance, combating the current fragility of our global food system

Read past Greener Pastures here ...

Why eat local food?
When we realize the answers to this simple question, a healthier population, planet and economy will realize, too

By Cassie Pence

Last Monday, Slow Food Vail Valley gathered a group of chefs, activists, educators, farmers, ranchers, business owners and happy eaters to discuss how together we can work to strengthen our local food shed. It was just the beginning of a long conversation (and a lot of work) that will hopefully lead to great change in the way we eat.

Greener PasturesPanelists and attendees touched on just about every food issue, from the “harsh realities” of growing (and eating locally) at 8,000 feet to pesticides and school lunches to how our fragile global distribution system has made us all vulnerable to food shortages.

We talked shop about growing our own food, extending the seasons and how mountain folk may have to redefine “local.”

We lamented over how there is a generation or more of people who have lost the art of food preservation, how there is a generation of people who don’t know what fresh food tastes like and how there is a generation of people who expect to eat berries all year round.

We exchanged resources to buy local food, discovered new ones — like Ripe (see box text) – and expressed how there is a real need to connect local growers, buyers and distributors.

Hovering like a light bulb above this intense, yet inspiring conversation was one question: Why eat local food? And as a group, we agreed that getting the general population to realize the answers to this question is KEY to changing how we grow food, how we buy food, how we distribute food and how we eat food. And when people do realize the answers to “why choose local food,” a healthier population, a healthier planet and healthier economy will realize, too.

So how do you convince someone the merits of buying and eating local food?

How do you convince the woman at the farmers’ market who gasps at $6 for a bag of spinach and then loads into her Mercedes Benz to head to Costco? How do you convince her that the extra money is well worth the efforts of our small local farmers?

How do you convince “foodie” home chefs that tomatoes and peaches have a season? How do you convince them that just because the recipe calls for it that it doesn’t mean you have to buy tomatoes and peaches in winter from South America?

How do you convince coming-of-age youth that farming, as a career, is cool? How do you convince youth to take on the trade, despite farming’s long days, low pay and many thankless moments? We are going to need a hell of a lot more farmers if more people are going to eat locally.

Spreading the “why local” awareness is not going to be easy. But Slow Food Vail Valley and many of the people who attended Monday’s Local Food Roundtable plan to take on the challenge. We believe in the local food movement, and we believe it’s powerful enough to make a huge dent in the depleting health of our nation and our environment. We know we’re romantic about it, but we also know to have realistic expectations about eating local food, as many of our food producer panelists urged. We know that growing and eating local food is a lot of hard work. But we also know it’s worth it. And we plan on convincing you.

Freelance writer Cassie Pence is passionate about living a more sustainable lifestyle. She helps to lead Slow Food Vail Valley and wants to hear your ideas for spreading the “Why Eat Local Food” awareness. Contact her at cassie@organichousekeepers.com.

 


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