Have you heard of the Slow Food movement? It is international movement founded in Italy in 1986 and encourages food that is tasty, seasonal, locally grown, fresh and wholesome. At the heart of this concept is taking pleasure in cooking, eating, and sharing meals with others. Slow food is an alternative to fast food, and is healthy, good for the environment, and good for the farmers and people who prepare our food. There are many benefits to eating food that is locally grown. Because crops are picked at their peak of ripeness, locally grown produce is flavorful, fresh, and high in nutrients. Purchasing local food in season is good for your budget as well, because food does not have to travel thousands of miles to get to you. Furthermore, you are helping your local economy by supporting local farmers and growers. What can you do to make sure the food you are eating is healthy and wholesome? Here are some tips from Slow Food USA:
- Buy whole ingredients and prepare your meals at home rather than purchasing fast food.
- Avoid processed foods with a long list of ingredients.
- Grow your own food in a backyard garden or even on a windowsill.
- Choose meat that is grass-fed and poultry that is free-range.
- Know the story behind your food. Purchase food from your local farmer whenever possible. Shop at the farmers market, or buy shares of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
Upland Hills Health purchases 23% of the food that is served to patients, residents, and visitors from local vendors. These vendors include: Bryson’s Dairy, Lonesome Stone Milling, Quality Bakery, Cates Family Farm, Avon Locker Plant, Pan-O-Gold, Bryson’s Dairy, Innovative Kitchen, and Heartland Fruit and Produce. If you are interested in purchasing more locally grown foods, visit your local farmer’s market, join a CSA, or check out The REAP Food Group website (www.reapfoodgroup.org). REAP Food Group Partners include farms and businesses that promote building and sustaining a local food system that supports small family farms and locally owned business, sustainable agriculture practices, and access to fresh and healthy food. Some of the REAP partners in our area include: Bleu Mont Dairy, Botham Vineyards, Bures Berry Patch, Campo di Bella Farm, Crossroads Community Farm, Dancing Bee Honey Farm, Dorothy’s Grange, Double Ewe Farm, Dreamfarm, Dreamy 280 Farm Fresh Meats, Future Fruit Farm, Gentle Breeze Honey, Hook’s Cheese Company, King’s Hill Farm CSA, Ruegsegger Farms, Seven Seeds Farm, Singing Fawn Gardens, Sunborn, Sutter’s Ridge Farm, Uplands Cheese Co and Grass Dairy, Valley View Emus, and Vermont Valley Community Farm.