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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

Unplug.40% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while they’re turned off.