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Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

by Nick DeMarshCoth comic 14

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
Farmer Open House Set for March 8
Meet and support your local farmers.
Connect to get farm-fresh produce & more.

If You Go:

12th Annual Local Farmer Open House
Saturday March 8, 11AM – 3 PM
Urban Ecology Center, Riverside Park
1500 E Park Pl ~Free

GMO-Free, Organic, Locally Grown, Humanely raised, these are some of the many labels put on our food to address an underlying question: is my food OK to eat? Having seen the abyss of where our industrial food system can take our health, our communities and our environment, a growing number of people are concerned about this question. While options exist, the variety of labels for better food seem limitless, and it is only a matter of time before the next new label is co-opted by the industrial food system, rendering the meaning of the label diluted or useless.

Labels will never permanently address our concerns about the safety of our food, nor will they make a more sustainable food system. Does shipping organic produce across the country take any less fuel than shipping produce grown with toxic chemicals sprayed on it?

The most reliable way to know how your food is grown or raised is to know who is growing the produce or raising the livestock that will end up on your table. The trust of knowing your farmer is not only the best method for ensuring the safety of your food, it’s the best way to ensure your meal is rewarding and acknowledges the hard work of growing and preparing that food.

On Saturday, March 8 you will have an opportunity to meet a farmer, who could become yours for the season. At their East Side location, 1500 E Park Pl, from 9AM to 3PM the Urban Ecology Center will host its Twelfth Annual Farmer Open House. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet a variety of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farmers and have the opportunity to invest in a trusting relationship. CSA memberships help farmers avoid the cycle that creates a financial barrier for some farmers, in which they don’t get paid for their hard work all spring until harvest time. By signing up for a CSA you get the convenience of fresh, locally grown produce delivered to a convenient pick-up location on a weekly basis.

This is a win-win relationship, helping the farmers worry less about debt to banks and more about growing great produce, and consumers can worry less about what to buy and more about what to do with all the great produce. It is a fun challenge to receive different produce items throughout the season, offering opportunities to try new recipes. It also ensures that we eat seasonally, enjoying the nice cooling effects of radishes and peas during those hot summer days and the warming effects of squash on those first chilly fall evenings.

Whether you are just learning about CSAs or have been a member for years, this is a great opportunity to talk with local farmers, learn about their growing practices and share options, and choose which farm is best for you and your family.   Lunch will be available for purchase. Stop by the Resource Table to learn about food preservation and cooking classes, more about how to find locally grown and produced food and how to connect with other good food enthusiasts.

Workshops:

  • Intro to CSAs – Jamie Ferschinger, of the Urban Ecology Center, will explain how Community Supported Agriculture works. 11:30AM or 1PM
  • Cooking from your CSA box – Annie Wegner LeFort, Chef and Master Food Preserver, will share ideas for more efficiently using the contents of a weekly CSA box to prepare quick healthy meals. Recipes, tips, and resources for cooking seasonally from scratch will be provided. 12:15 or 2PM