Consumers, grocers and restaurateurs at all levels of our nation’s culinary food chain are heading to farmer’s markets, pick-your-own organic food farms, and otherwise utilizing community supported agriculture resources in droves. This as awareness escalates that high value, locally farmed food is good for our health, communities, local farmers and farmland; is economical (often less expensive than the grocery store), convenient, and fun to source; and that it tastes great. For these reasons and more, championing the local foods movement is University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point food and nutrition professor and registered dietitian Jasia Steinmetz, author the newly released title “Eat Local: Simples Steps to Enjoy Real, Healthy & Affordable Food” – a simple, step-by-step roadmap for improving diet and nutrition with local, sustainable and organic food choices.
With the extraordinary amount of interest in local foods (see statistics below) comes an inevitable array of questions and even concerns amid a marketplace hungry for information and insight. Among other tasty tidbits, Steinmetz is available for interview and editorials on an array of timely and compelling “local food” topics also synergistic with her book and otherwise, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Economics: budget savvy local food shopping tips that save money
- Convenience: How purchasing local foods can be far more convenient than you think
- Children’s Health: How locally grown foods can be integral in the fight against childhood obesity, while also better promoting family traditions
- 10 ways local foods promote health and wellness
- Key benefits of local foods – health, economic, environmental, and otherwise
- Myth-busting – debunking concerns and challenges regarding sourcing, procuring and preparing local foods
- Step-by-step guidelines for finding and using local foods
- Seasonal local food eating strategies
- Local food cooking & preparation tips
- Menu transformations: top tips for making holiday and other family dinners a bounty of fresh, healthy foods with local, sustainable food choices
- The why’s and how’s of finding, purchasing, preserving and using local foods grown near your community
- Ways to change and improve our “runaway food system” for future generations, such as supporting school gardens or farm-to-school programs and hunger projects, farmland protection, etc.
- How to properly pick local produce and important questions to ask the farmer, grocer or other food purveyor
Just last month the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed a whopping 17% annual growth for the U.S. farmer’s market trade, alone, with its 2011 report citing, “more farmers are marketing their products directly to consumers than ever before.” Findings also reveal that several states have experienced rapid farmer’s market growth since 2010, with some states realizing a staggering 46% growth rate in one-year alone. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan underscores the implications and significance of this increase, noting, “The remarkable growth in farmers markets is an excellent indicator of the staying power of local and regional foods. These outlets provide economic benefits for producers to grow their businesses and also to communities by providing increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods. In short, they are a critical ingredient in our nation’s food system.”
Steinmetz notes, “The way we produce food today has radically changed, and we are increasingly becoming disconnected from our food supply. As well, resources such as soil and water are diminishing at alarming rates, compromising our future food supply. The good news is communities and citizens can partake in local foods and, in doing so, help reclaim control of our collective food system to make it safer and more dependable for ourselves and future generations.. My book, “Eat Local: Simples Steps to Enjoy Real, Healthy & Affordable Food,” is the first-of-its-kind, offering a simple, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide on finding and purchasing local foods, which benefit our food system, bodies and budgets.”
Learn more about Steinmetz’s new book, “Eat Local: Simples Steps to Enjoy Real, Healthy & Affordable Food,” online at www.EatLocalSimpleSteps.com.
Find more information about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2011 National Farmers Market Directoryfindings online at http://tinyurl.com/DOAFarmersMarket.