Spending our Food Dollars Where They Count – on Local Food!
By Aviva Goldfarb, CEO, The Six O’Clock Scramble (www.thescramble.com)
Summer has arrived and with it comes an abundance of beautiful, fresh fruits and vegetables from nearby farms. My little garden is bursting with baby arugula and fresh basil, and our kids have been overdosing on sweet local cherries from the farmers market. In addition to irresistible cherries and berries, this week I also came home from the market loaded down with freshly picked snap peas, yellow squash, cucumbers and tomatoes. These farm fresh fruits and vegetables get me even more motivated to make a healthy and delicious dinner for my family.
But is buying these locally grown foods an indulgence or a wise use of our food budget? Sometimes buying locally grown foods is more expensive, other times it is not. But for me the overall value is higher. The better quality, taste, and longer shelf-life means less food waste and more nutritious fruits and vegetables in the bellies of our loved ones. I’ve found that I can also freeze in season fruits and vegetables for an economical and ready source of produce in the barren winter months.
I also feel good about spending my food dollars to support local farms, where produce is usually grown with fewer, if any, pesticides, livestock is treated more humanely, transportation cost (and pollution) is reduced, and local farmers can support their families rather than having to sell their farm parcels to land developers. Patronizing these local markets also helps my children feel connected to the local community and the wonders of what springs from the earth.
By buying local produce, eggs, meats and dairy products we make an investment in the health of our families, our communities, and our planet. And I can’t think of any other way I’d like to spend my weekend mornings than connecting with the local farmers and their mouth-watering and eye-pleasing bounty.
Aviva Goldfarb is a mother of two and the author and founder of The Six O’Clock Scramble®, www.thescramble.com, an online weekly menu planner and cookbook (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), and is author of the new cookbook, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010).