Local Essay

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Two and a half years ago my husband talked me into buying a farm. I also planted my first garden. It was beautiful and I was in awe of all the colors a tomato can be. Grocery stores have one kind of tomato and it’s really not very good. In my very first garden I grew 8 different types of tomatoes, from the palest yellow to the deepest purple. Each with its own shape and size. No, they weren’t all uniform in size and yes, they went bad in a week’s time but nothing I’ve ever purchased at a grocery store, organic or conventional, can compare to the freshness of a tomato grown in my own back yard. Not only have I had to learn a lot about farming and cows, I’ve had to learn how to garden as well. In this process, I’ve come across a lot of information on nutrition. I’ve also come across a lot of information on a fairly new food trend, the local food movement. There are many former supporters of organic foods systems moving to the local food movement. Many cite environmental reasons, given that the average mileage our food travels before it hits our kitchen is 1,300 miles (Kloppenburg). Others cite nutrition and yet others claim community support as the reason they support local foods (Ikerd). While these are all valid reasons, I was intrigued by the idea that local foods can be more nutritious and that all food is not created equal. Conventionally grown foods are what most of us purchase. Grocery stores are full almost from floor to ceiling, isle after isle of so many foods it can be overwhelming. Before the advent of the supermarket in the early 1900’s, most food was grown locally and purchased in small, locally owned shops (Gwynn). You had to go to the butcher for meat, the produce vendor for produce and the bakery for bread or in many cases the bulk food store for supplies to make your own baked goods. It was a treat for northern states to see

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