Now is a really good time to eat. After decades of Americans wanting their meals fast, highly processed and pulled off the shelf at a gigantic grocery store, food culture is experiencing a renaissance. The emphasis is on slowing down, stripping out what’s unnatural and unnecessary, and shrinking the space between where food is created to where it is served. From growing pesticide-free tomatoes and herbs in backyard gardens and hand-selecting organic local produce, cheese and meats from neighborhood farmers’ markets and CSAs, to analyzing ingredient labels in the local co-op, folks are investing more time, money and thought into the food their families are eating and the impact of that food on their communities.
While all of these changes reflect an increasing concern for the lives of humans, animals and the planet, adjusting to this shift in consciousness can sometimes feel like information overload. That’s why we’re taking the summer harvest time here in southeastern Pennsylvania as reason to celebrate as well as educate.
What makes something “organic”, and does it always cost more? How close does something have to be to be “local”, and why does that matter? What exactly is a GMO? We delve into “Locavore Lingo” on page 18 and unpack the GMO issue and more with activist and educator Jeffrey Smith on page 30.
“Meaty Truths”, on page 14, explores the realities of large-scale meat processing and alternative methods to ensure meat is safe, humane and chemical free. We also get tips on how to ensure that if we choose to eat meet, we get beef, poultry and pork that we can feel confident about. Luckily for us locals, we needn’t go any further than the world-renowned Rodale Institute in Berks County. Farmers there are leading the movement toward healthier, more conscious meat eating through their heritage-breed hogs.
In appreciation and gratitude for the Bucks County organizations that make our trip from farm to table short and easy, we present the Locavore’s Guide on pages 26 and 27, sponsored by the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance, and in cooperation with Buy Fresh Buy Local of Bucks County. Every time you buy local from the farms, markets and CSAs listed here, you feed not only yourself but local farmers, their families and everyone involved with the local economy. Remember the Doylestown Food Market’s motto, “Shop Your Co-op First,” and don’t forget to pencil in their second annual Farm to Table Celebrity Chef Celebration on August 13.
We hope you’ll keep this issue at hand as you explore the countryside during those long, meandering summer days and nights. Chances are, wherever you are, you aren’t far from locally sourced, farm-fresh food that’s as sweet and succulent as it is safe and sustainable.
With you in Awakening,
Karen G. Meshkov