Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Make Food Personal

The numbers of people sickened or killed by the E. coli breakout in Germany continue to increase. There are many theories ranging from mundane to conspiracy to biological warfare. The reason for the outbreak? It will take some time before the real source can be traced. The costs of the outbreak continue to grow as well. There is now talk of giving the farmers $220 million in compensation. The costs of treating the 2,400 sick are significant in addition to the costs of lost productivity.

The best solution I can think of and one each and every one of us can implement right now, is to eat more and more foods from your local area. Will eating local guarantee 100% protection from E. coli? No. However, it will significantly reduce the numbers of people affected. And, if you are buying produce directly from the local farmer you have the ability (and some say the obligation) to get to know the farmer and his practices. You can then make a more informed buying decision instead of the blind leap most of us take now when going to the grocery store.

Plus, if you know the farmer and an unfortunate E. coli outbreak were to occur, odds are you'd be less likely to file a lawsuit. Most local, family owned farms do everything they can to protect their animals and crops and the last thing they'd want would be to sicken the customers they also know by name and/or face. Plus, you'll be eating more nutrition, whole, real food.

Eating local is something you can do today. In many cities across the United States, there are farmer's markets held several times per week. If you live in a more rural area, go look for local farm stands or CSA. Odds are there are some nearby.

If we make food more personal again, for ourselves and our farmers, maybe we can protect each other from food borne illnesses. Seems like a solution worth trying.

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