Earth Day Every Day!

 

...these eventually went into a spicy apple and plum tart

I work for an environmental education center and food is important to me…as it is to everyone because, if we didn’t eat…you guessed it.

We would be dead.

But I enjoy food on an almost spiritual level so the way I celebrate Earth Day, every day, is to buy the best quality food I can afford.

And that most often means I buy LOCAL!

A few years ago, PEEC’s (Pocono Environmental Education Center) Earth Day Slogan was “Earth Day Every Day” and a lot of organizations use this saying for celebrating Earth Day all the time.

But how many of us really think about what it means?

 

...PEEC- Pocono Environmental Education Center- (where I work,) grow's much of it's own herbs for the dining hall.

Any extra awareness organizations, communities and cultures can bring to the state of the Natural World today is appreciated and needed. But then what? What happens in houses and communities after the festivals and sit-in’s and farmers markets and museums close that day? What happens when everyone washes and puts away their Earth Day t-shirts and tote-bags.

Does everyone go back to the exact lives they were living before they attended their local Earth Day event?

Some yes and some no.

It’s a powerful experience to meet a local farmer who supplies the corn in your area, or the beef that a friend served at their BBQ. Do you drink milk or use half & half in your coffee in the morning? What would you do if you got the chance to meet a local dairy farmer and taste the milk or cream their cows produce? Cows that ate grass that grew less than 20 miles from where you live and drank water that flowed through your watershed.

Getting the chance to question and get to know the people of your area who produce much of what you could be eating daily is a life-changing experience. Why buy an apple that was picked and shipped a year ago in California when you can eat one that was grown less than 30 miles away and picked days ago.

...these went into am amazing salsa that became gazpacho!

Because it is too expensive?

Check again everyone!

Organic, local and sustainable food choices are going down in price all the time. Food prices, like all other commodities bend to the market. The more people want something, the more it will become available in price and in amount. That is one of the reasons we are seeing organic food and product prices dropping. That being said, fuel prices are high. Where do you think the price of that apple from California or that Steak from Montana is going to go in the future? Up!

That’s why buying local saves.

Saves not only money and the Natural World, but your taste buds too!

I bought these vegetables and the fruits above last year from a local farmer. The peppers cost me $2.50 and the tomatoes (there were 5 more in the lot not shown) for $3.00 and they all tasted like I would imagine veggies from heaven would taste. Sweet, crisp, popping with flavor and as you can see…color!

The food I made with them was more delicious, more nutritious and cheaper than had I used produce that was grown and distributed by the big agribusiness brands. They tasted better because they were fresher having been picked that day. They were more nutritious for the same reason and were cheaper (a word we all welcome) because there were less transportation costs associated with their trip to the farm stand where I bought them.

So this year when you are thinking about what you can do to celebrate Earth Day, think about celebrating it every day by enjoying what the earth and your local food producers can offer you and your taste buds. And don’t stop at just fruits and veggies during the Summer and Fall. Look to your local farmers and those stores that supply their products for meat and dairy. Find a local bakery or store that sells fresh bread (…or make it yourself). With a bread machine it is super-duper easy and can be done while you are at work. You can also eat fresh and local when not in your kitchen. SO many restaurants are incorporating local products into their menus. Many new restaurants are opening as a way to honor and spread the word about eating fresh and local. Look them up online. There are surely many near you.

Now go out and eat something fresh and local and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

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