I'm a big supporter of the "Shop Local" concept. Buying local food, especially, is a big deal to me. I'm a co-leader of Slow Food Hudson Valley and we've been talking recently about the 100-Mile Diet. That's a movement where people try to keep their food purchases to items produced within 100-miles of their homes, or the places they visit.
As someone who REALLY likes her coffee, I find that some aspects of the 100-Mile Diet won't work for me (unless I move to Hawaii ... hmmmm.) But I do try to buy coffee that's shade-grown (no rainforests chopped down) and Fair-Trade. Not 100 miles from home -- but good enough. I feel life is all about balance.
Recently I bought some organic, locally grown AND locally ground cornmeal from Don Lewis of Wild Hive Farm Bakery in Dutchess County. This man does it all -- from growing the grain to making the bread -- and he makes some wonderful grain products. I bought the cornmeal at Sprout Creek Farm's market in Poughkeepsie but I've seen Don's stuff for sale at the Adams farm markets too.
I like that in the Hudson Valley I can buy local produce at farmers markets, at farm stands and at stores such as Adams and even the local Hannaford supermarket. But joining a CSA, to me, really shows support for local farmers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CSA sales to community members who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance mean that growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.
And I’d rather support Hudson Valley farmers whenever I can than those in Chile or China (where a lot of the produce sold in the USA comes from).
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