Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Action Day and World Food Day 2011 #BAD11

Here in the Pioneer Valley we know how lucky we are with many choices of local organically grown food. There are farmer's markets in the surrounding towns most every day of the week. If a person or family have no space to grow their own food, or if rabbits are too greedy, folks in Western Massachusetts can simply stroll into one of several markets for fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs, goat cheese and grass fed 'humanely' raised meats. It truly is a paradise in many ways here in the valley and nearby hilltowns. 

We all have the right to know where our food comes from and you can help one of the best food advocacy groups by going to their FOOD AND WATER WATCH facebook page and liking their page. They will get funding for every 'like' they receive in October.

One of my favorite farmer's markets is on Tuesday but I seem to have misplaced the photos. I love being able to buy organic and locally grown garlic and ginger from 'Old Friends Farm'. 
Did you know that about fifteen years ago our country grew three quarters of the garlic we consumed but now most comes from China? When you are not able to go to a farmers market, please ask where your food is coming from. The more we ask and refuse to buy the sooner change will come. Why not take this quiz to see where some of your food choices come from. It is shocking to see how much of the  food stocked on shelves in our stores . . . including, sadly, our food co-ops . . . is imported from China. Why not ask to have our food labeled as to what country they are grown in? Will you begin asking? We all must be vigilant about keeping GMO food out of our stores too or at least out of our homes. How can we when there is no labeling? Will you join in demanding our right to know? Monsanto's GE sweet-corn may be coming to a store near you soon. Please just say NO. Learn more about GE food.

More and more there are winter markets too, where seasonal root crops and greens are available. What a joy to have fresh greens all winter long!

Local fungi.

This Spring the green around our library became the site for a new farmer' s market. Now, every Thursday there is a farmer's market just down the hill from Flower Hill Farm.

Food is such a huge issue. I am focusing on what is happening here in the Pioneer Valley.  As in the larger world . . . here in Western Massachusetts there is such abundance for some while others go to bed hungry each night. Healthy food is often too expensive for many and they can only afford less nutritious highly processed food, which in turn creates disease. Farmers in our area are aware of this and organized a new farmers market in a Northampton neighborhood where, in large part from donations from residents in the area, food stamps will have a double value. 
Wealthy countries should be investing in sustainable agricultural practices for those in crisis the world over.

Sometimes there is live music at the markets adding a joyous celebratory feeling for all who gather to select fresh healthy food. Having such easy access to local organic food is indeed worth celebrating. Some would like to take that choice away from us by burdening farmers with hurdles that could make it hard for them to survive as small farms. Corporate agriculture would love to put an end to small family farms. Please learn about GIPSA and demand a fair farm bill. Thanks for calling congress and the president to protect small family farms. Reclaiming our food is one of the great changes growing today. 
Let's all celebrate and support our local farmers by keeping informed and acting to protect them.

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