I think we can all say with pride that the Local Food Movement has taken root in our area and around the country as a whole. It was fun to be one of the renegades helping to lay the foundation. I almost don’t mind being considered the “status quo” today! Why is this movement taking hold?
One of the important goals of the Local Food Movement has been to help people know where their food comes from: to enable consumers to connect with the individuals producing their food.
More people are shopping at farmers markets, farm stands, and independent markets and small independent food stores. The number of farms in the area continues to grow. There is a CSA to fit any consumer’s lifestyle. And market shelves are lined with “locally made” products, all well identified.
Novice home cooks, seasoned chefs, and everyone in between are proud to name the source of the products they consume and serve.
“I’m serving Verrill Farm’s corn tonight.”
“Did you taste the new season’s heirloom apples from Kimball Fruit Farm?”
“I think tonight’s dinner will be the pasta I bought from Valicenti at the farmers market this afternoon.”
Being able to name the provenance of our food connects us to its source. It makes us feel like we are part of a community; it gives us a human connection. And in many instances, the connection goes even further because we know the names of our farmers and producers—Steven’s corn, Terri’s tomatoes, Carl and Marie’s apples.
For better or worse, while our connection to our food gets more personal, the connections in many other areas of our daily lives seem to get more distant.
Instinctively I, like everyone else, sit down at the computer and talk to people via email. If I have a quick question, it might be abbreviated into a text message. The correspondence goes back and forth until the matter gets resolved or the questions get answered. Rarely do I pick up the phone and have a conversation on the spot. And I cannot remember the last time I received a hand written letter.
The norms of communication have changed, and I believe it’s left us with a void. Might the valuable lessons we’ve learned from the Local Food Movement be translated into more of our daily interactions? Food has given us opportunities to talk face-to-face with people, ask questions, converse, respond, and react—valuable interactions that slow us down and have made our lives more pleasurable.
Connecting people in a humanly satisfying way, that is the goal!
Ilene Bezahler Publisher/Editor