Fight Fads - Eat Local

Fight Fads - Eat Local

A few weeks ago I set up a stand at the farmer’s market for Home Place for the first time in about three years. I spent the whole day staring at tables full of produce and talking with old and new customers who were as excited as I was to be there. It was truly fun to be hanging out for the morning drinking coffee and chatting with other local farms in between sales at our tent. Just before the market shut down I swooped by all of the stands and started buying things for lunch that day. My eating habits had taken a turn recently, and all of this veg was just what I needed to get back on track. After what turned out to be a great sales day, I arrived at my apartment to my fiance Mary watching Fight Club.
She was only a few minutes in when I came stomping through the living room lifting a prize watermelon I purchased that morning. I was beat from working the market and suddenly didn’t feel like cooking so decided to join her on the couch and revel in the star power of Brad Pitt portraying Tyler Durden . Neither of us had eaten so we decided the best move was to order a cheese pizza and watch the movie together. “You are not the car you drive, you are not the contents of your wallet, you are not your f*cking khakis”, Pitt was saying to the camera I was polishing off the last slice of pizza. Then I remembered my box of produce and began to feel a little uneasy.
Tyler Durden may be right...perhaps I am not the truck I drive or the contents of my wallet (hope so!), but I most definitely AM the food that I eat. Say what you will about our materialistic consumer society, but it's hard to argue that the food we put in our bodies does not affect who we are and how we feel. . In fact, our gut health plays a massive role in our immune system. Plainly put, you are what you eat. And after watching an army of ripped dudes beat the hell out of each other in a basement, I was wishing that I had eaten some of the produce I had purchased instead of the greasy pizza. That night, laying in bed I was resolved to get my diet back on track.
It’s a cycle we’re all familiar with. A gradual slacking on eating healthy and exercising, only to follow up with a hot flash of inspiration and a dizzying spin down the rabbit hole of nutritional advice. When you finally decide on the kind of foods you want to buy, it feels impossible to navigate the myriad of options at the grocery store. Each product presents a hidden cost to the environment, and the closer you look the more hellish the nightmare becomes. Commodity beef is polluting our atmosphere with carbon, beautiful vegetables are laced with pesticides. What does it actually mean if eggs are “Cage Free”? Oat Milk is in and almond milk is out! Everything is packaged in single-use plastic! Shopping for food these days feels like constantly settling for the lesser evil. But what if I told you there was a way out of this mess? Well there IS, and it’s a concept you’ve probably never heard before so hang on tight… Eat local.

Never heard that before, right??! I understand the phrase,“eat local” feels about as cutting-edge as playing ‘Kumbaya” around a campfire. But, with a closer look, it's just as radical and effective as any diet plan out there. What’s more hip and innovative than tapping into your region’s food supply? What could be more freeing than simply opting out of chasing the latest food trend? How much better would your meals be if you began to plan around seasonal freshness instead of calculating the minutiae of your macro and micronutrients?

The following weekend when I was back at the downtown farmer’s market all of the stress I had felt about food purchasing began to disappear. Before me was an actual bounty of healthy food grown by actual people I knew who have nothing to hide about their practices. Tomatoes and squash from The Produce Tribe, the most incredible melons from the Richardson family, catfish from Earl Lakes. And aside from the meat, nothing is wrapped in plastic!

The reality of being a mindful shopper is that you must constantly think about how your eating habits are affecting the world around you. When you take a step back and seek out local farms like ours you begin to enact change that ripples throughout the region. Your dollars keep businesses alive and give people jobs. You cut down on needless packaging, you get better nutrition. You step away from highly processed foods and paradoxically spend less money. Simply by caring for yourself and eating better food, you start caring for others and the environment.

This weekend, get up early and go check out your local farmer’s market. Talk to the growers, find out what restaurants they work with and go support those chefs! Check out local CSA options (HPP has a really great one)!. Eat the food grown around you by folks you know in places you can visit. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself in the kitchen, and don’t sweat it when you succumb to occasional comfort of a greasy pizza.

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