Health / Innovation / Leaders & People / Science

Harvest – Know Your Farmer Know Your Food

Jubliee Organic FarmDo you know your local farmer?

Whether an urbanite or suburbanite, opening a cardboard box frozen entrée for dinner is history.  Farmers are taking the lead in a public education campaign on the importance of good nutrition and delivering fresh produce to families, schools and dining establishments.

Farmers markets are being organized every day of the week in the city, by metro stations and reviving historical market sites. Discover the closest farmers market to you. New generations are being introduced to fresh produce, eggs, milk, cheese and meats in true form instead of as an anonymous Styrofoam plastic wrapped nondescript food product.

Farmers know the delicate balance and relationships in nature.  Enough rain, sun and care of the land produces the best fruit and vegetables.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is teaming up with farmers to spread the word. With support at the highest levels of government, farmers are developing innovative strategies to bring their products to the consumer instead of waiting and hoping for the consumer to find the farmer.

In Washington, D.C. alone, farmers have opened up restaurants and are providing front door service with quality produce and products.

A few blocks from the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue, Founding Farmers, owned by group of family farmers, promotes fresh produce, meats and fish from farms, ranches and fisheries from across the country to create a fine dining experience. In addition, the restaurant is the first LEED (Gold) certified restaurant in Energy and Environmental Design and through a partnership with Carbon Fund, Founding Farmers reduces their greenhouse gas emissions.

Agraria Farmers and Fishers opened at the Georgetown Waterfront and delights the most sophisticated diner with regional specialties. They partner with Trickling Springs Creamery in Pennsylvania; Pineland Farms in Maine; Bee Pure Honey in Wisconsin; Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative in Pennsylvania; Jubilee Organic Farm in West Virginia; Celtic Springs in Pennsylvania; Dancing Creek Farm in Pennsylvania and ShoeString Acres in Pennsylvania.

Imagine front door service?  Blue Mountain Creamery is delivering milk, eggs and a variety of specialties. For a city person, it is an unusual turn of events to have the farmer drop off fresh milk in a cooler on the front door step.

Recent global food contamination alerts from spinach to beef to tomatoes to peanut butter even pet food, one knows there are no guarantees of absolute safety.

It is fair to ask what the difference is between a family farm and an institutional farm. The immediate answer is taste.   But, the bigger answer is your health and the impact on the land. Knowing as best you can where your food comes from and who is growing it, you can make an educated choice.

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C.

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