Wednesday, June 18, 2008

walking the talk - supporting local farmers

we all do what we can with the resources we have available to us. for the rest we either do without or find a way to support ourselves through relationships with others. i did just that today - i connected with a local family farm.

i think it is important to know exactly where your food is coming from. i find it a privledge to meet the exact person, one on one, who is raising the food i eat and to see with my own eyes where the food i eat lives and grows. you can't do that in the grocery and you can't do that at a fast food joint.

yes i struggle still with the slowing down of my own life. but i am making strides in the slowing down of my food.

today, i found local milk, local cheese and local yogurt all available at one farm less than 10 miles away. i was able to try all the goods before purchase. everything was wonderful and so so fresh. this farm keeps several types of goats for meat and dairy. the dairy goats are french alpine dairy goats.

upon visiting the farm and sharing a conversation with the farmers, i decided to become more than an on again off again customer. i chose to make an investment in the farm. i bought a share. the share helps the farm to sustain itself, it allows me access to fresh goods at a set price and in the big picture it takes a step toward the further building of the local community. i help pay room and board and the farmers give the goats good care. i think it is a good move.

it's not as formal as a csa where you gain a weekly delivery of in season goods it more about freezing a price at which to procure the goods with an understanding if mass circumstances change then prices may change. it's trust pure and simple.

tomorrow i take an afternoon trip to another local farm just about 10 miles away in another direction that is raising a rare french meat chicken breed called freedom rangers. i'm going to pick up three processed chickens ready for the cooking.

i have already talked extensively with my local chicken farmer on the phone, asking questions about the food the chickens eat. as luck would have it, we both feed our chickens from exactly the same local organic mill. so not only are my chickens raised locally but their feed is raised locally too.

why does that matter? well to start, every step closer to home cuts the amount of oil resource required to get that food to the plate. and that's a big deal to me. the president today is asking congress to approve more drilling access. is that really the answer? i think this request is built upon short term vision and i personally don't feel it addresses the big picture crisis we are up against.

many folks out there think "if we just drill in more places, then we'll have more oil and the price of a barrel will go down". i hate to rain on your parade folks but it's not that easy. the value of the dollar is what's really kicking us in the behind right now and until the value of the dollar is strengthened then really no extra amount of oil is going to drop the price of the barrel for us. and even if the drilling is approved then it's years before any impact of that drilling will be felt.

ponder this...
short term thinking - the administration is making one further false effort to please the masses with one final bait and switch tactic before they are out of office. this is simply ridiculous. but the fact is that there are many people out there who need to hear that there is a definitive answer (there is not) and that they will be able to continue to have their cake and eat it too as they have done for so many years. i think for north americans, those days may finally be at an end. some day someone was going to have to pay for our excesses and guess what babies?

it's us.

that is just part of why, for me, raising my own food and vegetables, searching for additional local foodshed resources and working towards keeping everything i can closer to home is a step in the right direction. it is important for me to invest in my local community. my one share and my purchase of a few chickens helps to keep these local farmers going and helps to keep quality food goods at arms reach. i consider it an insurance policy.

how hard will it be in the future to access good quality raised foods not tainted by genetically modified somethings or dependent upon big agribusiness for it's survival? it's a bit hard to do that now and there are many folks trying hard to make it less hard on folks. they are the new pioneers and i support them one hundred percent. i'll skip a convenient trip to the grocery for all of those reasons any day and besides, at the present moment, these folks are closer to me than the nearest grocery selling quality organic meats so truthfully, in my house, it's a no brainer.

the above photo of the chickens is borrowed from the blog site of rooster hill farm, some cool folks from newark valley, new york. click on the photo to visit their site.

and check out this comparison

Goat Milk vs Cow Milk

· Nutrient content of goat milk is slightly less than cow milk but goat milk is more digestible because the fat molecules are one-fifth the size of those from cow milk -- making it easily tolerated by those with compromised digestive systems.

· Seventy-two percent of the milk used throughout the world is from goats. It is one-third richer than cows milk but more nourishing and easier to digest.

· The flavor of goat milk is comparable to that of cow milk. Goat milk has a milder taste.

· Goat milk has no cream separation because of smaller fat molecules.

· Goat milk contains pre-formed Vitamin A in the milk fat that allows it to be readily available for use by the body.

· Goats milk contains a more highly-evolved cholesterol than cows milk, making it more available for absorption to the brain and body. (Cholesterol is essential to the health of the myelin sheaths "white matter" of the nerves in the brain.)

· Goat milk is closer to human milk and is therefore easily accepted especially by those young or frail.

· Goat milk has an alkaline reaction the same as mother's milk. Cow milk has an acid reaction

· Goat milk does not form mucous (phlegm) and is therefore better tolerated by asthmatics and those with allergies.

· Goat milk contains more chlorine, fluorine and silicon than any other domestic livestock. Chlorine and fluorine are natural germicides and fluorine assists in preventing diabetes.

· Goat milk contains 2% curd, which precipitates in the stomach. Cows milk is 10% curd.

· Goats are naturally immune to diseases, such as tuberculosis, and are used in third-world countries to actually cure tuberculosis because of their inherent antibodies.

· Goats milk is tolerated by a compromised /damaged liver because of the smaller fat molecules and it's naturally homogenized.

· Goats milk has the ability to "sweeten" the intestinal tract and assist with constipation.

· Goats milk contains a higher evolved carotene (pro-Vitamin A). Researchers have found this to have cancer preventing properties.

Source: Natures Prescription Milk by Gloria Gilbere, N.D., D.A. Hom., Ph.D.

how about them apples?


Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Chick. My family tries to eat close to home, for many of the reasons you mention. My parents and grandparents did the same. They had gardens, raised chickens and turkeys, goats and cattle, they fished and hunted for their winter meat. They traded with neighbors. When I was a child, the kids loved eating raw from the garden or cooking fish right after we caught them. We knew what wild plants and berries we could eat. We ate close to home, but for a different reason, out of necessity. Some people thought of us as poor. Poor is something we never considered ourselves.

A book that has been causing a stir in British Columbia is, ‘The 100 Mile Diet’. It is about eating locally. I have not read it but know many people who have. I sure don’t know the answers to the questions, I don’t even know what the big questions are. But when you see people growing gardens for the first time in a spot that used to be lawn, it may not save us, but it can’t be a bad thing.

Regarding oil prices. I agree the low US dollar has a lot to do with the high price. Then again, the price should be high, both of our countries have young men and women dieing for it.

Here is hoping for a cool breeze through your window. Take care.

Margaret in KC said...

It doesn't matter where they drill, we're still going to run out of oil soon enough. Argh!

I enjoy your blog, especially cat news and all the pictures. :)