If you have ever walked off a trail in the Tetons while wearing shorts and suddenly felt like invisible hypodermic needles that itched like @%$# on your legs you have probably have had a run in with stinging nettles.
An email inquiry from a local high school student asked me:
What is the importance/benefit of eating locally grown foods?
Do you think people here are conscious about imported foods and eating locally?
If so how did they become conscious? If not what can be done to inform them about the benefits?
Thank goodness he’s asking!
so… here goes…
“It’s about good, clean, fair food; not necessarily organic, but good for your body, good for people who grow it, and involves lots of protection of farmers around the world and small-scale food production,” she said. Muncaster became interested in the slow foods movement eight years ago while researching ideas for a cookbook based on local and sustainable foods. While Muncaster said that Teton Valley has a great local food scene, the price of local beef and pork is often more than her family can afford. With sustainability and the health of her family in mind, she looked to the forests and foothills of the Tetons as a way to fill the freezer, and also as a way to participate in an age-old tradition.
I was interviewed recently for this fun article by local Deb Debaracato. It’s true… Nico will barely leave the kitchen. Had to bribe him last night with Bob the Builder because he insisted he needed to make pesto.
A full, searchable list of resources available at the Outreach Center can be found at www.librarything.com/profile/tetonslowfood where the collection can be viewed or searched by tags, complete with ratings. Donations or loans to the library and kitchen exchange are welcome as long as they fit our categories.
Muncaster said there’s little doubt that investing in our local food system is going to mean more monetary commitment from consumers, be they restaurants, schools or families. And while only those of us drawing on trust funds can afford to buy everything local, she hopes we’ll put our dollars where our mouths and our homes are.
Local food prices could come down marginally if the region sees an increase in local farms, much as is happening on the national scene, where the number of small organic farms is growing for the first time since the 1950s. Nevertheless, a steak cut from the loin of a local, grass-fed cow who has lived her life on Mead Ranch will never cost as little as one from a heifer finished at a filthy, crowded Illinois feedlot. But it will taste better.
Teton Valley has experienced tumultuous economic changes. Much of this change has centered upon the bottom dropping out of the real-estate development market. How we use our land will affect generations of community members. Land is integrally linked to food and livelihoods. Our farmers are our future.
... a note on the words “REAL FOOD.” Unfortunately I think the term “real” is a value judgement and a bit of an insult to the lunch ladies who work hard here in the Tetons to feed our kids. It’s not that the food they serve isn’t “real,” it’s just that it could be a whole lot more nutritious, fresh, locally sourced, and made with sans trans fat, sugar, salt, pre-processed, etc.
The best response to an increasingly dire financial crisis is to take a deep breath and return to our communities, says the founder of Slow Food in the Tetons. Rather than gloom and doom, the changing season should inspire people to become more locally self-sufficient, Sue Muncaster says.
“I really think that the whole thing with the economy is evidence that we’ve lived out of control for too long,” said the Idaho-based organizer, writer and mother. “I think about how fast and fierce the ‘global financial crisis’ hit us. Imagine how fast and furious the inevitable global food crisis is going to hit us. It’s time to take action and just say no to fast food, processed food and big corporations.”
The Muffin Mafia aside, showcasing your talents at your local Farmer’s Market can be both financially and spiritually rewarding.
With everything that is happening in our crazy world and economy, some day government organizations involved with food production and trade will have a complete paradigm change in attitude and instead of “regulating” will “promote” local food production.
We’re all terrified of spinach and, what was it this week? Tomatoes? The reality is that it is the INDUSTRIALIZED AGRICULTURE, DISTRIBUTION, AND PROCESSED FOOD SYSTEM in this country that is making us sick, not the neighbor’s brownies.
Can you really have your fish and eat it too?
...an educated consumer can make informed choices by weighing the human health benefits and risks and considering what is best for our oceans.
If I were to vote someone least likely to follow the organic trends, it would be my brother, Brian. Althought he was forced by necessity to change his way of life, today he can’t imagine doing anything different.