Archive for the tag “local meat”

10 Reasons to Eat Local Food

Here’s an interesting “top ten” list from “Life Begins at 30. ”  I don’t think they’re all of equal importance—-and there are no doubt points that have been left out—-but they do make a case for the virtues of LOCAL.

1. Eating local means more for the local economy.  According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.  When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.

2. Locally grown produce is fresher.  While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer’s market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.  This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.

3. Local food just plain tastes better.  Ever tried a tomato that was picked within 24 hours?  ‘Nuff said.

4. Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen.  Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be “rugged” or to stand up to the rigors of shipping.  This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

5. Eating local is even better for air quality and pollution than eating organic.  In a March 2005 study by the journal Food Policy, it was found that the miles that non-local organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic.

6. Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons.  By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

7. Buying locally grown food is fodder for a wonderful story.  Whether it’s the farmer who brings local apples to market or the baker who makes local bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.

8. Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism.  Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamination.

9. Local food translates to more variety.  When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket.  Supermarkets are interested in selling “Name brand” fruit: Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes.  Local producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out Little Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.

10. Supporting local providers supports responsible land development.  When you buy local, you give those with local open space — farms and pastures — an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.

via Life Begins at 30: 10 Reasons to Eat Local Food.

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FDA gives up on antibiotic restrictions in livestock

As these excerpts from a Grist article make clear, it is maddeningly difficult to make changes in national food regulations, despite conclusive evidence that “business as usual” is injurious to the public health.

I admire and support  the organizations who keep up the fight, despite year after year of defeats.  In the meantime, I am grateful to have the option of buying local, antibiotics-free, grass-fed meat from farmers and ranchers I know and trust.   I can’t change national policy, but I can try to make the option to buy healthy, local meat  more readily available for more Portland-area residents in 2012.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pulled a Scrooge move just before Christmas. The agency published an entry in the Federal Register declaring that it will end its attempt at mandatory restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. The agency isn’t advertising the shift, though: This news would have remained a secret if not for Maryn McKenna’s Superbug blog over at Wired. McKenna, who specializes in writing about antibiotics and their link to pathogens, caught the Federal Register notice.

This is a sorry end to a process that began in 1977 (!), but McKenna created an excellent timeline that traces the history of the issue back to the 1950s. In 2009, the Obama administration breathed new life into a moribund process because the top two Obama appointees at the FDA, Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and her then-deputy Joshua Sharfstein, strongly supported restricting antibiotic use in agriculture.

But despite Hamburg and Sharfstein’s many supportive statements, the FDA has only produced a draft set of “voluntary” guidelines. And, with this latest announcement, it looks like that’s as far as they’re willing to go.

Inaction has consequences: According to the vast majority of microbiologists and public health experts, restrictions on agricultural uses are key to preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics as well as to preventing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA and salmonella Heidelberg (cause of last summer’s record-breaking ground turkey recall). And it’s no small dosage: Every year 29 million pounds of antibiotics are given to animals — often via their feed. That figure represents 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S.”

via Scrooged: FDA gives up on antibiotic restrictions in livestock | Grist.

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