A few weeks ago I wrote a series of blogs on the three resources I use most to convince and inspire people to shop for real, local foods. The first was Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, the second was the documentary Food Inc. and the third was the experience of shopping at farmers markets compared to supermarkets .
Now when it comes to farmers markets in America, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that many places in our country still have little access to fresh, real foods. I call these real food deserts.
I grew up on Long Island, the classic example of a real food desert. There are still some farms here and there but they’ve mostly been converted to parking lots, condos, golf courses, shopping malls and suburbs with lawns that soak up chemicals instead of the roots of real food. We’re all familiar with these real food deserts. If you live in a real food desert, this blog is for you. And if you don’t, I bet you know someone who does.
The good news is that as the awareness of our broken, toxic food system grows more and more people are looking for ways to opt out of the conventional system. Many businesses and farms are becoming savvier by using the internet and online ordering systems to reach concerned consumers who are seeking organic, non-GMO, pastured, grass fed foods.
One such local business here in the Pioneer Valley is Valley Green Feast. Valley Green Feast is a local, organic foods delivery service. All you have to do is go to their website, www.valleygreenfeast.com, order from a wide variety of foods from a variety of small farms in the area and they bring it right to your door. How great is that?! Literally, the farmer’s market at your doorstep. No check-out lines, more time at home, smaller gas bills and of course, great quality food!
More than that, Valley Green Feast is a worker-owned collective that supports local farms by expanding their consumer base. They are working to make real, healthy food more accessible to more people.
I think there’s a huge market for this sort of thing out there and I hope more services will be offered like this around the country.
In fact, the last year I lived on Long Island I was part of a food co-op that received weekly shipments of food from Amish country. A number of Amish farms had partnered together and set up an online ordering system. Once a week they would deliver to various locations around the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area. It was absolutely fantastic. I had dozens of amazing choices right on my computer screen – pastured eggs, cultured vegetables, raw cheeses, yogurt, butter, soup bones, soup stocks and an amazing variety of grass fed meat products. It was a one stop real food shopping heaven and saved me tons of time.
Certainly setting up these online systems and having the capacity to ship and truck fresh food around to different locations is no small task for many farms. But I see a huge potential in this sort of thing. And hey, if the Amish can do it, I think others can too.
Regardless of where you live though, many farms are starting to do this. This is great if you live in a real food desert with no access to healthy local foods.
Another great resource for finding these farms is the Wise Traditions quarterly publication put out by the Weston Price Foundation . It’s included with your membership to the foundation which is only $40 per year for individuals and $25 if you’re a student or senior. At the back of the publication you’ll find a section called “The Shop Heard ‘Round the World” with dozens of businesses and cottage industries selling various nutrient dense foods. In recent years I’ve noticed this section keeps growing and growing.
So if you know someone who lives in a real food desert, please help me spread the word about these wonderful online resources. In particular, if you know someone who lives in the southern Pioneer Valley where’s there’s less access to the farms of the upper Valley, please help me make them aware of Valley Green Feast. They’re a very new business and many people could really use their services.
Finally, I know what you may be thinking, “Yeah but this is all so expensive!” Maybe. But maybe not. As I’ve said repeatedly in previous emails, what is the cost of your health? Even if your health insurance can cover the costs of medications, doctors visits and even hospitalization, what’s the cost of living with sickness? What is the cost to not develop the lifestyle diseases of type II diabetes, obesity and heart disease? I can only answer that question for myself which is to say that for me personally, the extra money I spend each month on real food is well worth it to me. Most importantly, I feel better.
And I think you will too.
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.