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STORIES FROM PATINA MEADOW
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STORIES FROM PATINA MEADOW

WHY EAT LOCAL?


Like many people who saw these articles, I was surprised and disappointed. How could these companies that I trusted steer me so wrong? And then I started thinking about the other food in my pantry and fridge. How much do I know about my food?


So I began to scan my shelves. Product after product left me questioning—until I got to my Patina Meadow produce, a half-finished log of Noble Springs Goat Cheese from our Patina Farm Shop, and a smattering of leftovers from my last trip to the Farmers Market.



These items had one thing in common—they were all locally grown. Well, two things, because they are also all delicious. Knowing the people (or being one of the people ;) ) responsible for creating this food, asking them questions about how it is grown receiving answers with pride, and sensing their care for our community all brought about a sense of peace rather than perplexity. 


Image by Lisa Romerein

In a world where so much feels beyond our control, knowing where our food comes from and having a relationship with those who produce it is incredibly grounding. It brings us back to basics, reminding us of the fundamental role that food plays in our lives—not just as sustenance, but as a cornerstone of our health, our communities, and our shared future



This experience got me thinking about the broader context of our food system - how did we get to the point where the majority of our food is produced by faceless corporations that often use toxic chemicals in our food?


Rather than show you images of industrial agriculture, I thought I would show you images of our farm, Patina Meadow, at the moment. This is what I want future generations to think of when they think of farming, rather than what we all see today.

This is a big question - with a rather long answer. You could write an entire book about this topic (and in fact, many people have - if you are interested in learning more about it and our estrangement from farming, I would highly recommend reading The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry), but today I will just give a very brief overview.



The food system as we know it today picked up speed in the mid-20th century with the beginning of the Green Revolution - a movement to end hunger through increased agricultural productivity. 


 


With the introduction of all of these new tools, farming became more expensive than ever, and this in combination with other cultural shifts, began the steep decline in smaller & mid-size local farms.



Add in Earl Butz, the US Secretary of Agriculture in the 1970s, telling farmers to “get big or get out”  & the shifting of government support to agricultural subsidies to those who “got big”; it's no wonder we now live in a system where quantity outweighs quality and transparency. 


Back to pretty farm photos :)

Industrial agriculture's focus on efficiency and scale has not just waged a war on small to mid-scale local farmers, but also on the health of our soil and our health. 





And the problems don’t stop at the farm level, they extend, and worsen, in processing, packaging, and transportation, but that's a whole other blog post within itself. (I highly recommend the book Ultra Processed People: Why We Can't Stop Eating Food That Isn't Food by Chris van Tulleken)



I don’t say all of this to scare you or shame you.  I say this to showcase problems within our food system so that we may all begin to work towards a solution - and to me, a big part of that solution is supporting small-scale local food - where each purchase is a vote for a more sustainable and transparent food system, and accountability and care replace anonymity and mass production - as much as we can.


If you want to find ways to shop locally in your area, check out Local Harvest - a platform that allows you to search for local farms in your area.


Thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments. Also, if there is anything you want to learn more about when it comes to this kind of stuff, please let me know!


Love, 

Leila

9 Comments


Thank you for sharing! I also believe in supporting local farms, we belo g to a CSA and try to stop small. I believe good , whole foods are a prevention way for health and healing. Your gardens are beautiful

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You have such a lovely garden & your pictures are gorgeous! I'm glad you are bringing attention to the food we eat & the harm chemicals have done to our bodies through food over the years. Eating good food is such a preventative to so many diseases. Keep up the good work!!

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Hi! Inspiring to read, and I like the book suggestions. Your gardens are beautiful too!!!!

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Informative and thanks for the book recommendations!

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Lovely, Leila. Thank you for sharing your passion for good health and good farming.

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