Friday, April 29, 2011

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food



There seems to be an inundation of fads that support fresh, organic, free-range, cage-free, no GHB, eco-friendly, hybrid, conflict-free, all natural living, and the list goes on. From the automobile industry to your household cleaning products, companies everywhere are modifying their approach by a little, or by a lot, to appeal to the generation of conscious and careful consumers. The food industry, especially, has jumped on this band wagon. There are countless books and documentaries on this topic that have climbed the best sellers lists in recent years. But why? People have begun to realize the radical changes that have taken place in the last few decades. What used to be dominated by family farms (and this was only a little over 30 years ago) is now run by the industrial agriculture giants. In fact, according to Jonathan Safran Foer, less than 1% of farms in this country are family farms. That’s almost hard to grasp. Even more startling is the fact that "the average distance our meat travels hovers around fifteen hundred miles" (Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer). It seems the real issue is that most people simply don’t know the ins and outs of what all transpires in order to deliver your family’s food to the grocery store or neighborhood restaurant. Every day, more and more Americans are shocked when they discover what really goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve been brought into the conversation, or maybe you’re a seasoned expert. Whatever the case – you’ve got questions and you aren’t alone.

"The choice-obsessed modern West is probably more accommodating to individuals who choose to eat differently than any culture ever has been, but ironically, the utterly unselective omnivore - "I'm easy; I'll eat anything" - can appear more socially sensitive than the individual who tries to eat in a way that is good for society" (Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer). One way to eat in a way that is good for society is to eat local.

Local farming is important for so many reasons. Some of which we have just laid out for you. But if you’re unfamiliar with the vast differences between factory farming vs. family farming, industrial vs. small scale, organic vs. conventional, it’s in your best interest to educate yourself. Stop by Tulsa Green Drinks’ first event of the year: "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food". Held on May 21st at 6pm during Mayfest in the Williams Towers on 3rd and Boulder, we will be hosting a panel of local farmers from the Green Country region. Come prepared to listen, learn, and most importantly, ask questions that are vital to sustaining Tulsa’s local farming system.