As a family, we’ve been following a paleo lifestyle for about a year and a half. We have come a long way in our understanding of exactly what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to Erin (our own personal family nutrition expert), I feel like I have a pretty good handle on all of this. The other day I was ordering eggs from one of our local farmers and the phrase “sustainable farming” popped out at me. I thought about that for a minute and actually wasn’t sure that I really understood what that meant. So, I did what we all do when we want to know more about something….I Googled it! Sustainable agriculture is using methods of farming that protect the health and well being of humans, is humane to farm animals, is safe for the environment, and provides fair treatment to workers. If you eat ” sustainably,” you eat food grown by farmers that follow these principles. We have access to this kind of food through our local farmers who farm following these principles.
Our paleo lifestyle has completely changed the way we shop for food. Almost everything we buy comes from the local farmer’s market. We go in with a list of how many vegetables and meats we need to make meals for the coming week, instead of a set list of what we want. It’s very open ended in that we see what’s in season and what’s available that particular week. This ensures a variety of tastes and nutrients in our diet, and that will change seasonally. When a particular item like kohlrabi is in season we enjoy it, and when it’s gone we find something new to enjoy. The meat from the local farms is grass fed, so it’s high in omega 3 fatty acids and does not contain antibiotics or hormones. The animals are raised and butchered humanely. The vegetables from the market are free of pesticides and GEOs. We have gotten to know the farmers and look forward to seeing them each week. Since the market is only open at certain times, you begin to see the same people shopping at the market and you get to know them. At the farmer’s market you talk to the people that grow the food, ask questions about how it’s grown, what they will be bringing in the coming weeks, and they even share ideas on how they prepare some of their things. Most of the people there are very passionate about improving the way we eat and they are concerned for the environment.
Because the food industy in this country is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, at this point we have little control over what agribusiness chooses to do. We can take an active role in our health and that of our families. While we may not be able to change food labeling laws, or the practices of the major food industries in this country, we can choose how we spend our money. We can choose to buy locally and in doing so, know what we are buying. By supporting our local farmers we can ensure that we will always have a choice. I guess you could call this a modern day form of hunting and gathering. We have provided a list of local farmer’s markets for your convenience so proceed to hunt and gather!