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Farm to Table and More

I really like the phrase Farm to Table. I like the reminder of where our food comes from. Farm to Table usu­ally refers to restau­rant tables – restau­rants that fea­ture sea­sonal, local food on their menus. This con­cept strives for an eco­nomic boost to the local econ­omy – both the restau­rants and the farms. The pub­lic gets the ben­e­fit of new and cre­ative restau­rant dishes with fresh local produce.

Check out the Howard County Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Author­ity (HCEDA) web­site for their list of local Farm to Table restau­rants.

More local farms are also start­ing CSA’s – Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture. This is where peo­ple pay in advance for weekly “shares” of local pro­duce and some­times other prod­ucts like eggs and bread. You pick up your fresh veg­gies at a cer­tain place and time each week. Some of the CSA’s have all the cus­tomers they can han­dle this year, but some are still tak­ing cus­tomers. Visit livegreenhoward.com for our list of CSA’s.

Farmer’s mar­kets are also in full swing. Howard County spon­sors 6 local farm­ers’ mar­kets. The mar­kets oper­ate Wednes­day through Sun­day, each day at a dif­fer­ent loca­tion in the County (two loca­tions on Sun­day). Here is the link for the loca­tions and times.

Local farms often have their own farm stands on or near their farm. The HCEDA web­site has a cool fea­ture called “farm search” where you can find out lots of info on local farms and what they offer.

Elissa Rei­neck
July 2013

Food for Thought

Food_Picture

Writ­ten by Amy Triscoli, sum­mer 2012 intern for the Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Zon­ing and the Office of Envi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity. Thanks, Amy!

Until recently, I never put much thought into the food I ate. I ate what­ever tasted good, seemed semi-healthy, and offered a good deal, price-wise, at the gro­cery store. I looked for notices on boxes such as “Heart Healthy” or “Fat Free” and stuck to brands I had been loyal to since child­hood. Over­all, to me, my thought process seemed quite log­i­cal at the time. Food was simple.

My inter­est in food emerged when I began cook­ing for myself in col­lege. I began to pay closer atten­tion to the ingre­di­ents I chose for each meal. As an urban plan­ning major and global sus­tain­abil­ity minor, I also quickly learned the role food plays in com­mu­ni­ties and soci­eties. The terms “local food” and “organic” became increas­ingly impor­tant to me. I even joined my University’s com­mu­nity gar­den orga­ni­za­tion to help grow a vari­ety of veg­eta­bles (some of which I got to enjoy myself). It was clear that I had become immersed in a food cul­ture that pro­moted healthy, local eat­ing prac­tices. My con­cept of food had com­pletely changed; I real­ized food may be one of the most impor­tant top­ics to be knowl­edge­able about. Food was no longer sim­ple. It was complex.

Although I am not here to write a book review, I will say that read­ing “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pol­lan, truly brought every­thing full cir­cle. I highly rec­om­mend read­ing this book. If you know eat­ing local is bet­ter and don’t know why, read this book; if you know organic food is more expen­sive and don’t know why, read this book. Although I could go on and on about what I have learned, I am also not here to write an essay. To high­light some of the points that really stuck with me, I have listed ques­tions you can ask your­self below:

• Are we really eat­ing food any­more? Do you even know what half of the ingre­di­ents in your food are? Can you even pro­nounce half the ingre­di­ents?
• Can you iden­tify where your food was grown?
• If local foods are health­ier and sup­port your local econ­omy wouldn’t you want to buy them? Even if local foods are more expen­sive, shouldn’t food be the one thing you splurge on, since it dras­ti­cally affects your health?
• Do you enjoy eat­ing your meals or do you eat just to eat? Is food infused into our cul­ture of liv­ing?
• Do you uti­lize farm­ers mar­kets, local food stands, gar­dens, and nat­ural mar­kets? (Take advan­tage of them!!)

Farm­ers Mar­kets and Pick-Your-Own farms are going strong this Fall. Check out these links to get started — http://www.howardcountyfarmersmarkets.com/
http://www.visithowardcounty.com/sight-seeing/farms

Amy Triscoli

Octo­ber 2012

Locavores in Howard County

Some­one needs to come up with a bet­ter word than “loca­vores.” But until then, we can use it to describe the move­ment to buy and eat food that is grown locally. This label is dif­fer­ent than “organic” but the idea is that if food is grown nearby and on a smaller scale, it will be bet­ter tast­ing, health­ier, and bet­ter for the envi­ron­ment than if it were pro­duced and shipped from far away.

In Howard County there are lots of ways to eat “local” food. The most direct is to grow your own. This year my fam­ily started a “square foot gar­den.” It is the cutest thing – an 8 x 2 foot raised bed sur­rounded by fence made out of rebar, elec­tri­cal con­duit and plas­tic net­ting. OK, that doesn’t sound cute, but really it is! I have a love/hate rela­tion­ship with the deer that come thru­ough my yard, and so far this sys­tem is hold­ing up well. The plan comes from the book “All New Square Foot Gar­den­ing” by Mel Bartholomew. We fol­lowed the plan for a ver­ti­cal gar­den except instead of using Mel’s mix for soil, we just used bags of LeafGro.

But I digress. Local eat­ing has got­ten a lot eas­ier with Howard County Farm­ers Mar­kets. These gen­er­ally run Wednes­day – Sun­day at var­i­ous loca­tions. Farm­ers mar­kets are a great way to sup­port local farms and get fresh pro­duce and locally made foods like cheeses and breads. Road­side farm stands are also start­ing up. If you want to visit a farm, sev­eral Howard County farms have pick-your-own days. It can’t get any fresher than that.

More restau­rants are high­light­ing locally sourced food on their menus. Here’s a list of restau­rants com­piled by the Howard County Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Author­ity. An event cel­e­brat­ing local food and farms is com­ing up on July 19th. The “Film Fea­sit­val” is spon­sored by Clark’s Elioak Farm, the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Exten­sion, Howard County, Howard County Tourism, and the Howard County Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Author­ity. The event will have locally grown food from sur­round­ing farms and restau­rants. There will also be a show­ing of “Local Foods, Local Farms”, a film about the ben­e­fits of eat­ing locally grown food. The event is free, but they are request­ing a $5 dona­tion that will go toward Farm­ers’ Mar­ket Coupons for fam­i­lies in need. Here’s the Feast­i­val link if you would like to register.

Lastly, here’s a link back to Green Cen­tral Sta­tion (livegreenhoward.com) that has infor­ma­tion on Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture and Organic Gro­cers. More gro­cery stores are high­light­ing local pro­duce when they have it and you can always ask a man­ager to find out if any of the pro­duce is local.

Enjoy the season!

Elissa Rei­neck

June 2011

Green Tip

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.