I’ve been in quite a few heated discussions lately about the importance of local farms not only in educating people how to eat healthier, but also (and especially) about the difference between mass produced farming and local farming.
Let’s start with the mass production first. I am not opposed to GMOs, although using that term is about as confusing as the term global warming so let’s break down what I mean. Genetically modified organisms are actually a really good thing. My husband wouldn’t be able to afford insulin if it weren’t for the genetically modified bacteria that now makes it. What MOST people are talking about when they talk about GMOs are the round-up resistant strains. The ones that are made to have high yields and not be damaged by massive doses of herbicides. While I am not a fan of the prospect of ingesting these massive amounts of herbicides the thing that I am most concerned about is something completely different. These products are generally made without the concern for nutrient content. They are produced to be a filler. Most of these products that actually make it into human consumption are actually being used as some product in packaged foods. Packaged foods that have already been shown to hold little nutritional value. How do local farms come in? Local farms tend to grow smaller quantities of food but with more variety. They also tend to grow plants that are naturally hardier with more nutritional value and flavor. If we were to focus on bringing more local produce to people we could increase the nutritional health of those who need it most.
The second thing: educating people to eat better. There is a niche that is currently not being filler, or at least is slowely being filled. That is helping people realize the importance of eating better while also making these foods more readily available to the consumers who are unable to utilize them. This is a tricky subject that will involve much trial and error in our part. As I have observed in the past few years local farms tend to wait for people to come to them, visit a farmers market, etc. which is great for consumers who have the time, energy, money, etc to invest in these thing. What about the families that don’t? I would like to see more local farms coming together to bring their goods to a wider audience. Teaching people to eat better, teaching people the value of good nutrition, offering some kind of meal prep/ planning to help families who don’t have the time to eat better. I don’t understand why this can’t be a thing, and not only a thing but one that is spearheaded by the local farm industry.
I honestly believe in the coming years we should, and hopefully will, see local farms become a major part of the food industry again.