Working for a Local Food System Revolution

Let’s push our supermarkets to carry more organic, locally grown food.

| February/March 2011

Food is a hot topic these days. Roger Doiron, founder of Kitchen Gardeners International and author of Easy Kitchen Garden, Step by Step, says evidence of a kitchen garden revolution is everywhere:

“New food gardens are being planted in schoolyards across the country. Community gardens are in such high demand that some of them have waiting lists. Vegetable seed sales have risen sharply over the past few years. In urban and suburban areas, the revolution is not so much a grass-roots movement as a grass-roots removement, as more families replace patches of lawn with edibles.”  

But as safety, nutrition and food security concerns drive growing interest in homegrown, local, seasonal and organic eggs, meat, dairy products, produce and grains, contributing editor Barbara Pleasant raises an interesting issue: greenwashing in supermarkets. She reports:

“I saw a sign at my local supermarket that said, ‘Love local food? We do, too! Look for the signs ....’ 

“Unfortunately, the store did not have our famous local peaches — or anything else that was locally grown except some okra. But shoppers could have thought local food was available because of the misleading sign. On the other hand, I heard conversations among those in the store about how buying locally benefits the economy.  

“MOTHER EARTH NEWS has been a major ripple-maker, tossing lots of pebbles into the Big Pond over the years, so don’t forget to appreciate how beautiful those ripples are. The ‘village-ization’ of America is underway. I think we must question whether the companies that are trying to join this new food movement are delivering on their promises. I know some of them are. In North Carolina, there’s a regional supermarket chain, Ingles, that started carrying local dairy products way before it became cool. 

Ryan Burt
4/4/2011 5:52:01 PM

Gouverneur NY has a Price Chopper and they don't have any "real" local produce in fact they have bad produce i took some pics of some produce and it was molding and was squishy and starting to just plain go bad and they had it all over there produce and were trying to sell it that way of you want real local produce don't shop Price Chopper

Sarah Brinkley
3/14/2011 12:39:24 PM

Here in Estacada, OR we have a grocery store called Harvest Market by Thriftway. It used to be just Thriftway, then they changed the name a few years back and I believe it was a greenwashing attempt. The name Harvest Market bring to my mind images of produce grown locally and organically. However, the only "local" thing they had was some squash from Troutdale, about 20 miles away. I was quite disappointed. As for organics, they offer about 12 or so different produce items, but I'd really like to see more. The produce manager was honest which is helpful, but didn't sound very enthusiastic about giving the info to me. I think "Harvest Market by Thriftway" could use a makeover.

Adria Beach
2/26/2011 8:11:35 AM

I shop and work at a Wegmans store in NYS. Homegrown season has been huge for Wegmans for decades.Each store deals individually with the growers closest to it. The assortment runs through all the fruits and vegetables grown in our area. I'm very excited about the organic research farm Wegmans has recently built in Canandaigua,NY to help our local growers develop and impliment organic practices in our short growing season. Produce from the research farm is available at their Canandaigua store in season.

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