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Food for Thought

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/

Amy Triscoli

Octo­ber 2012

Speak Your Mind

Green Tip

Use cloth napkins.It’s actually cheaper to throw cloth napkins in the wash than to buy paper ones.