Did you know that nearly 40% of the food produced in the United States ends up in the landfill? And about 95% of this discarded food ends up in landfills or combustion facilities where it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas production. If global food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China (1). Crazy, right?!
Crisp apples, pumpkins, fresh cut flowers, and rainbow carrots are a few items that crowded the gym of seven elementary schools this month. Also included were guest chickens, various educational activities, smoothie bikes, and pumpkin soup samples. Students purchased flowers for their mothers, pumpkins for Halloween, and loved sampling kohlrabi and pea shoots from 9 Bean Rows Farmstead & CSA.
For locals, Foods For Living is a landmark. Maybe they come in for the Lansing area’s only all-organic produce section, the coffee samples, and the friendly staff. (We’d like to think it’s the latter, if we’re being honest. And we are. That’s another reason people keep coming back, probably—honesty.) Perhaps they come for our massive supplement section, and the vitamin and herb experts who run it. Many just come for the live music and the freshly-prepared deli food. Where else can you reliably get amazing carrot cake and listen to some bluegrass on lunch? Regardless of what brings them through the door, they’ve been coming for twenty years, and we are so, so humbled and grateful to be celebrating with our East Lansing family.
The farmers’ market stalls are overflowing with produce and your garden is producing more tomatoes than you can handle. What to do? Lock in peak nutrition and summer flavor and try your hand at basic food preservation! Your taste buds will welcome the hint of summer during the colder months.
Did you know that farmers receive only 17 cents per retail sales dollar (on average) when their food is sold through traditional channels? The remaining 83 cents of this dollar goes to middlemen, distributors, and other players in the food system. Selling direct to consumer (farmers markets, roadside stands, CSA programs, etc.) generates higher margins for farmers (and strengthens consumer’s ties to their food) but can come with its own set of unique challenges and risks: unfavorable weather impacting sales, large time/energy demands, lack of convenience, and seasonality.
Sometimes, if you’re like me and have zero experience with farming or eating fresh food, you have no idea what you’re eating. Luckily, with time, my palate has expanded and today I can embrace the flavors of whatever it is that I am putting into my mouth.
Step away from the pumpkin spice latte! Yes, our days are getting noticeably shorter and Labor Day is but a memory, but this is when it gets GOOD in Michigan. No other time of the year will gift us with this much fresh local produce. Stores and Farmer’s markets are overflowing with the best of summer – sweet corn, blackberries, green beans, real vine ripened tomatoes… this is what we dream about in the dregs of February! Let’s make the most of it! Let’s start with this…..
A Review of the Film “Fresh”
By Tricia Phelps
There are countless documentaries making comments on the current state of our food system. They each differ in varying degrees of tragedy, omission, honesty and optimism. “Fresh” became part of that ever growing panoply of films in 2009. The film’s director, Ana Sofia Joanes, sets “Fresh” apart by providing a well-balanced account of the dismal realities in industrial agriculture while layering the narrative with promising, inspiring and practical solutions that are beginning a movement.
So your neighbor the gardener just gave you 200 pounds of squash, a bushel of carrots, and some mushrooms. What do you do with it all?