Back on March 27, the South Philly Food Co-op hosted one of our monthly educational events and welcomed Marie Winters, ND, of Two Rivers Naturopathy who taught about the benefits and medicinal properties of everyday fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. Marie discussed how eating seasonally helps to keep the body naturally healthy. That point cleared up a concern (at least a concern that I had) that strictly trying to eat local might cause deficiencies if we don't get, say, bananas or citrus fruit which don't grow locally. Not so. All of the nutrients we need, during the seasons we need them, can be found in locally grown foods. The nutrients we need in winter are found in the foods that grow around here in winter and so forth for the other seasons. Nature seems to have figured out what it's doing. Here's one last plug for Marie: her Two Rivers Naturopathy just recently moved into a space at South Philadelphia Acupuncture at 1532 East Passyunk Avenue. One of the goals of the Co-op as stated in its mission is to provide affordable, nutritious and locally sourced food. But it's also important to remember the Co-op's role in educating people in the community about the benefits of buying and eating those types of food. We hope to invite Marie back for more information sessions once the Co-op opens its doors. Eating local has a twofold benefit of supporting local and regional businesses, especially farms that use sustainable practices that try to minimize or eliminate damage to the land AND it improves public health. But it's a battle. Advocates for these practices are up against a system that has vast amounts of resources aimed literally changing people's palettes through marketing. When it's education and common sense vs. flashy commercials and messages and images that appeal to our subconscious, education and common sense aren't going to be able to put up much of a fight. But we press on. And you can help by spreading the word about the Co-op and getting your friends and neighbors in South Philadelphia excited for it. In fact, please direct all of your Facebook friends to "Like" us on Facebook. It might not seem like much, but it'll make it a lot easier for us to communicate with our most loyal fans when it comes time to appeal to them (and you) to become member-owners. In the meantime, here's another take on the benefits of eating locally and naturally from a blog that I've recently started following (and listening to their podcasts) - The Socio Capitalist:
At your local grocery store, think about where that fruit came from. Unless you live in Florida or California, chances are it’s not from around the corner. Is that natural? Of course not. We all know that fruit and vegetables are shipped all over the country, covered in chemicals, and no one wants to eat anything covered in chemicals. But what we don’t realize,is that more importantly than the chemicals (they wash right off anyway), is our food is losing its nutritional value before it even reaches us. What can you do? Buy local. The quality of the fruit and vegetables that are locally sourced – farmers markets are a good option, if you’re lucky there may be a local farm somewhere near you like this one – is markedly better. When you bite into a banana that was grown less than 20 miles away, the difference is immediately apparent, and the cause of that glorious taste is nutrients.