Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Farm facts

1. People in the U.S. spend only about 10 percent of their disposable income on food. That's lower than any other country in the world.

2. For every $1 spent on groceries in this country, only 19 cents goes back to the farm.

I don't want to get all John Mellencamp about this, but obviously it is wrong on so many levels! How is it that so many of the most essential jobs pay the worst? But there are a couple of things we can do, off the top of my head:

1. Join a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program. You give a farmer--usually an organic one--a chunk of money up front before the yearly planting starts, which keeps them from having to take out a loan at interest. Then, every week, you get a share of everything that grows. Often the farm will have recipes and food tastings and value-added products, too. It's one of the best and most fascinating ways to become connected to your food. Props to Red Cardinal Farm in Minnesota for teaching me to love edamame, garlic scapes, and lacinato kale.

2. Buy at the farmer's market, direct from the source. If you don't know what something is, ask.

3. Buy local produce on those rare occasions when you see it at the grocery store.

4. When you shop at the grocery store, buy more "whole" foods as opposed to prepared ones. Stick to the outer aisles and tread not in the center ones full of boxes and packets.

Anyone have any more ideas?