01 09 10 Tweet Dietitians Eat Chocolate Too: Eating Local…Easier on the Gas Pump, Wallet, and Planet

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Eating Local…Easier on the Gas Pump, Wallet, and Planet

I have seriously been neglecting this blog. However, I am almost done with my internship (June 27th is graduation); so, things will hopefully simmer down a bit (until I get a job/pass the RD Exam).

Anyway, I have come across a new food fetish that has been around a while but, I’m a bit slow when it comes to trends. During the 100+ degree heat wave of two weeks ago (I had no electricity or air conditioning, so if you could ask me if I was having a bad week there would be your answer), I found myself avoiding my a/c-less apartment in an effort to seek cooler climates. I was going to the University of Maryland’s Rec Center for my usual Saturday morning lifting routine, when I realized I was missing something cool at the College Park Recreation Center….in the parking lot—gasp!—a farmer’s market was in full swing with a massive crowd to tote.

I figured I was going to the store anyway and stopped by to check out the produce. I spent a whole $6 on more produce than I really needed (there’s your fiber for the month) and really enjoyed being able to interact with the person that actually harvested my eggplant.

Why is this a big deal? Who benefits?

According to the USDA….
• Small farm operators: Those with less than $250,000 in annual receipts who work and manage their own operations meet this definition (94 percent of all farms).
• Farmers and consumers: Farmers have direct access to markets to supplement farm income. Consumers have access to locally grown, farm-fresh produce and the opportunity to personally interact with the farmer who grows the produce.
• The community: Many urban communities where fresh, nutritious foods are scarce gain easy access to food. Farmers markets also help to promote nutrition education, wholesome eating habits, and better food preparation, as well as boosting the community’s economy.
• YOU! Lower costing, more nutritious produce available in your area.

That’s putting your money where your mouth is…
For more information go to
The USDA’s Agricultural and Marketing Service: (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateC&navID=FarmersMarkets&rightNav1=FarmersMarkets&topNav=&leftNav=WholesaleandFarmersMarkets&page=WFMFarmersMarketsHome&description=Farmers%20Markets&acct=frmrdirmkt)