Nowadays, specialty markets in even modestly-sized towns and all national grocery chains carry organic dairy products, produce, meat, and a myriad of boxed and frozen organic items. Nearly 30 years ago, my friends and I either had to drive 50 miles round trip to get what we wanted, or - for a while, had a neighborhood food buying co-op and ordered large quantities of organic food directly from a national vendor. Each month, a tractor-trailer would deliver hundreds of pounds of bulk food to be distributed. Both choices were a lot of work and trouble and our gardens were the only local source for seasonal, fresh food.
The Answer is Simpler than it Seems
In the last few years, our nation’s relationship with food has become more and more complicated. Ecologically and ethically minded people have put their culinary choices under a microscope. No longer is it sufficient to say that a food item is organically grown; now we also want to know whether it is locally grown, sustainably produced, fairly traded, supportive of small businesspeople, and raised from heirloom stock. We have begun to understand that with every shopping trip, we cast a vote for the sort of world we’d like to live in.
At the same time, many consumers seem to have given up completely. Some feel confused and defeated by a constant barrage of oftencontradictory information. Others have thrown up their hands because, for financial or other reasons, it is impossible for them to make the choices that they believe are best for their families. Then, too, there are the farmers themselves. Some small farmers who meet or exceed the standards have opted out of the process.Their customers, they figure, know them well enough to trust their methods. Meanwhile, because of high public demand, the very largest growers have devoted parts of their empires to organic production, all the while cutting corners and lobbying for the standard to be lowered.
Living the slow life with food as the focus is as rewarding as it is easy, and it can be done daily by each one of us. Ultimately, it is about pleasure and taste, knowledge and choice. Once we begin to take an interest in the enjoyment of food, and in finding out where our food comes from, we can begin to see the effects of these choices. When we shorten the distance—both literal and figurative—that our food travels to get to us, we are participating in the Slow Food movement. Slow Food is about coming together as a food community—connecting producers and co-producers, coming together on the farm, in the market, and at the table-to create and enjoy food that is good, clean and fair.
You can support local growers and eat better by shopping at a local farmers market. Georgia Organics is a nonprofit membership organization supporting local foods, sustainable farms and healthy people.
Caron Matthews and Carol Cahill are Certified EcoBrokers with Harry Norman, Realtors in Atlanta, GA. Our EcoBroker Certification provides us with the ability to educate buyers and sellers on the advantages of owning a healthy, energy efficient home that will not only benefit you, but our community and the environment. We specialize in the sales of EarthCraft House, LEED and Energy Star Certified Homes and condominiums.