Dreaming of Local Food Year Round
I recently read an article whose headline caught my eye –
“Replanting America: 90 Percent of What We Eat Could Come From Local Farms”
Yeah! Wow! Is that even possible? The study was conducted by researchers, J. Elliott Campbell and Andrew Zumkehr, who reviewed every acre of active farmland in the United States, regardless of what it was used for, and extrapolated that instead of growing soybeans or corn for animal feed or corn syrup, it was used to grow vegetables. The article’s author, Dan Nosowitz, in Takepart, stated that only about 2% of American farmland is currently used to grow fruits and vegetables. What? Really? That seems so small. Where are all our veggies coming from? Apparently not locally. Nosowitz went on to report that Campbell and Zumkehr, envisioned that all of America’s farms could be “designed to feed people within 100 miles a balanced diet, supplying enough from each food group.” Well that would be fantastic! It is true? It turns out, that it would be a national average; that not everyone everywhere would have access to being a near-complete locavore. But it does make one dream does it not? What is possible here in Ashfield? How much of our community’s food needs could be met year round? Consider what you purchase at the Farmers Market already. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to continue consuming local food year round? How do you think your diet might change if you ate more locally grown foods? Hmm, yes, that would be a lot of potatoes, carrots, and cabbage in the winter. But then that is what greenhouses, hoop houses and root cellars are for – to extend our growing and storage seasons. Now if we could only grow cacao locally… (Mmmm, chocolate!)
FYI: did you know that there is a National Farmers’ Market Week?
Well there is: August2nd to 8th. So celebrate Massachusetts Farmers Markets by shopping at one. And it just so happens that Ashfield Farmers Market will be open on Saturday, August 8th on the Town Common, so you can celebrate this national event right here in town with your neighbors. Governor Baker even came out with a proclamation that highlights the importance of Farmers Markets for “creating economic vitality for both Massachusetts farms and communities, as well as their contributions to public health.” So come shop at the Ashfield Farmers Market, cause it’s good for the local economy and good for your health.
The Ashfield Farmers Market is open every Saturday through October 24, rain or shine.
Arianna Alexsandra Collins