While buying local is a great thing to do to reduce one's carbon footprint, and to support sustainable small farms, there is a lot more you are getting in the process than just food.
We try to buy eggs either through our CSA, or the local ones that are sold at the store. Both varieties taste great and are from pastured hens. One of the producers includes a note in each carton that lets you know how the "girls" are doing that week.
"Hello from Campo Lindo Farms. We are sad today. Lambert, the Great Pyranees dog that has watched over our ladies for almost 12 years, is no longer with us. He was born with no eyes and we thought he would have to be put down eventually. He never had any trouble thought, other than bumping into vehicles that had been moved, so when he was about a year old, we put him in wiht a group of hens. He found his purpose. Though he couldn't see, he was great at keeping critters away that wanted to sneak up on the ladies, day or night. He was happy with his lady-friends, and always followed us as we gathered eggs to wrap a frong leg around us and get a little pat (he had a built-in "people locator"). By Lambert, you'll be missed. Thanks for supporting a local, temporarily sad, family farm."
Our CSA grower also includes a weekly update on how the farm is, and how their families are doing. They always end each note with "Until next week, thank you for supporting your local growers."
"We are still soaking wet after a weekend of torrential rainfall. Stacy and I are really starting to feel the muscles in our legs and behinds from slogging around in the mud all day. The good news is we are expecting to dry out during this week, and its not supposed to get real hot until next week. Of course, in August we will be crying for a little rain, but for now, enough is enough."
In a world where we have lost complete touch with where our food comes from, it's good to get that connection back, that understanding of the who and the what it takes to grow and produce food responsibly. For some reason, food just tastes better when you appreciate it.
Some Good News
A few weeks back, I posted about the Federal Preemption Clause, Section 123, that had been added to the Farm Bill. The thousands of calls and emails worked. This clause which would have allowed the USDA to mandate states to allow any approved commodity including GM crops or cloning for example, has been removed from the draft farm bill.
As the House Agriculture Committee is meeting right now to finalize their draft of the 2007 bill, now is a great time to send them and email and make sure your voice is heard.