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  • Writer's pictureTina

We Can Take Control

If you pay attention to the headlines, our food has serious issues, from lack of availability of baby formula to strawberries spreading hepatitis. These issues demonstrate the fragility of our food system. In the summer months especially, we can add stability to our food sources and support our local farmers. Making an effort to buy locally grown food and locally raised meat is better for us, our farmers, and the environment. It also gives control to the consumer, fueling local economies, helping local farmers, and one can ensure one’s food is grown under safe practices.

With the baby formula shortage, we see how heavily we rely upon manufactured products to sustain our most precious population. People were panicked, and rightfully so. However, rather than panic, look to our roots. Babies were fed successfully for centuries without manufactured formula. What did our grandmothers do? One could get creative and employ a wet nurse…is that even an option today? Several people contacted me about purchasing goat’s milk for their infants. Selling milk for infant consumption is not a practice with which I am comfortable. Our milk is not pasteurized, and although we have very clean milking practices, it is not a risk I am willing to take. To be legal for me to sell our goat’s milk, I would have to jump through unimaginable hoops. This is not a path I choose to travel. However, I do advocate purchasing a dairy goat and a companion goat for family use.

Many people don’t understand how easy it is to keep a few goats. Goats need shelter and an area to move about and graze. In the past, many families were self-sufficient on an acre or less. Today, our food system is about convenience. Families don’t want to be responsible for the care of animals. They don’t have time to grow a garden. They don’t want anything to hinder their freedom. However, they fail to realize that self-sufficiency is the ultimate freedom.

With that being said, if one does not want to make an effort or take the time to practice self-sufficiency, one can look to the local farmers for fresh, clean food raised with care. I love strawberries, but I don’t make an effort to grow my own. Truth be told, I would probably kill them. If a miracle occurred and they survived, the birds would eat them before I remembered to harvest them, or I would harvest them; they would spoil, and then I would feed them to my chickens. Sigh, a gardener, I am not. I trust our friends from Sand Hill Berries and Lone Oak Farm to grow beautiful, safe, and delicious berries. I know Joanie’s practices at Lone Oak aren’t going to give me a disease. I love knowing the people who grow my food, supply me with milk and raise animals for market. It’s important for me to know where my food comes from and how it’s raised.

I also love walking the farmer’s market before it opens and talking to the various producers. The mushroom man takes the time to educate me about what mushrooms I should use for a specific recipe. The Mennonite lady advises me on the best tomato to use for making sauce, a sandwich, or a salad. The guys from Food for the People educate me on the benefits of the various greens they grow. Sherry from Broken Locust directs me on growing and drying herbs and throws in a tomato plant or two because she likes me. Sand Hill Berry and Daugherty’s Orchard keep me informed of the upcoming fruits that will be available. These people have knowledge, talent, and passion for what they do and are happy to share. That’s invaluable.

Rather than walk the aisles of the grocery store lit by fluorescent light, trusting the high school kid who just unloaded the truck from California filled with half-ripened produce to advise you about the food you are putting into your body; go to your local farmers market. While you are there, enjoy the sunshine, make connections with people, dip into the well of knowledge they hold and find out where your food comes from and how it’s grown. There is an entire community of people who are passionate about what they make, grow, or produce right at your doorstep. Your neighbors won’t steer you wrong, I promise. You may even make a few friends, learn something new, and improve your community. Those are all wins in my book.

At the start of this beautiful June weekend, remember to stay safe, be smart, check out your local farmer’s market this weekend, and keep washing your hands. Also, you can wash your hands with our new foaming hand soap that is on sale on our website, along with a variety of bars for Father’s Day.

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