A sustainable Thanksgiving

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Wed, 11/22/2006 - 02:00.

The food we eat is one big area of each of our lives where we have opportunities to impact the “triple bottom line” of sustainability:  supporting healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy profit to the local economy.

(I received this information in an email from Linda Robson at Case. As you may recall, I volunteered to be an energy ambassador for the building where I work. Linda has been doing a great job as the organizer of this program.)

With Thanksgiving in a couple days, here’s an easy way to make a place for sustainability and NE Ohio at your holiday table and to get your family and your guests involved!

1. Choose ONE ingredient from your holiday menu that is grown in your area. Purchase the ingredient at a local farm, farmers market, co-op, or food store (i.e., Zagara’s, Heinen’s, Miles Market, Mustard Seed Market, Nature’s Bin, or Web of Life).

2. Learn everything you can about the ingredient including:

a. The name and location of the farm where it was grown.
b. The part of the plant we eat (root, leaves, stem, etc).
c. Nutritional value.
d. Uses (culinary, commercial, medicinal, etc).
e. Region where it was first domesticated by humans.
f. Folklore or any other related facts

g. How the food was raised and prepared (i.e. seed variety/animal breed; soil amendments; pest control techniques; planting times; harvesting times; animal housing, feeding, and slaughter methods; storage; processing; transport).

 
3. When you serve your ”local dish,” share all the trivia you learned with your guests (or better yet, have your kids do it!). Strike up a discussion on the importance of local food, find out other food facts or ways to use your ingredient from your guests.
 

4. If it’s a lively discussion, you can win a free copy of Brian Halweil’s book Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket.  Submit your Thanksgiving story (400 words or less) to the Worldwatch Institute (http://www.worldwatch.org/node/1082).Tell them about your ingredient, dish, and discussion!   Worldwatch will choose their favorite entry and send the winner a free copy of Halweil’s popular book.

Submit your entries (http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4744) by January 3, 2007—winners will be announced on January 5, 2007.

 

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I wish it was easier to find sustainable local food

One thing I love about food shopping in Toronto is even at the grocery story they post on the produce where it was grown... country and if grown in Canada then if it was grown in Ontario. Confronted with many baskets of apples, it was easy for me to choose Ontario apples over ones grown in China (I never imagined Chinese apples are shipped that far... think again). I'd love to know this information at all the grocery stores here, and at the West Side Market for that matter. I'd also like to know what restaurants buy local... in Toronto, one of my favorite cafes in the Linnux Cafe, which takes pride to buy local produce from vendors within walking distance. That said, I already know many of my food for thanksgiving is local, and I do all my shopping possible at local owned stores and the West Side Market, and think the further suggestions of this posting are great ideas. And, good conservation efforts by Case in general!

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cleveland originals trying to buy local

I have had some correspondence with a friend who does the marketing for Cleveland Originals. When they were written up in CoolCleveland last week, I wrote and asked them when they might do group buying from local farmers. My friend said that they submitted a grant to the Ohio Department of Agriculture to launch a program that would connect local farmers with local restaurants. If Case already has such a program, then perhaps they should talk. I suggested that buying from local farmers would make Cleveland Originals truly original.
I noticed that Great Lakes Brewery and Parker's were not among Cleveland Original's members. Maybe becuse they are among the More Originals...

I wish they'd do group buying for individuals

That's a great idea, and I'd love to see it go further. I saw an ad for a service in Toronto where you pay like $50 a month and they bring you an assortment of the best locally grown organic produce in season. Not only does it sound like an ecology and economy friendly idea, but what fun it would be to see what they come up with each month... would lead to more experimentation in the kitchen and variety at the table, not to mention people eating more healthy better tasting foods.

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weekly market bags in Cleveland

Market Bags is a program of City Fresh  part of the New Agrarian Center

Fresh Stops offer weekly “market bags” which include a mix of produce available from local farmers each week. The contents of each bag will vary according to what produce is available that week. The market bag program is a form of cooperative purchasing in which a group of neighbors purchase a share of produce from a local farmer. The farmer receives payment upfront in exchange for a bounty of produce throughout the growing season. This is a form of “community supported agriculture” in which a group of people support a local farmer or group of local farmers by committing a portion of their weekly food budget to supporting that farm. The benefits include:

  • Fresher food with generally improved nutritional content;
  • Keeping dollars in Northeast Ohio’s economy;
  • Keeping farmers on their land;
  • Building connections between communities (urban and rural);
  • Reducing fossil fuels burned for long-distant transport
  • Cutting down on carbon in the atmosphere; and
  • Spreading happiness throughout the land!

Market bags are available for $20/week for medium to high income individuals and for $10/week for low-income individuals. Market bags will also include recipes, nutritional information, and other updates prepared by staff at Ohio State University’s Nutrition Education program in Cuyahoga County.

There will be three Fresh Stops opening in Cleveland in mid-June:

·         Clark-Metro, Clark-Metro CDC, West 25th and Clark, Thursdays 3-7pm

·         Detroit-Shoreway, Urban Community School, West 48th and Lorain, Thursdays 3-7pm

·         Slavic Village at Mural Garden Park at East 55th and Broadway, Fridays 3-7pm.

Contact the staff to learn more Maurice Small (Action Hero) maurice [at] gotthenac [dot] org

Let’s get some of these urban community farm/gardens going in East Cleveland, too.

Wow- this is awesome

I hadn't heard about this - it is exactly what I was wishing for. I'm definitely contacting Action Hero Maurice and will share more info that I learn... if you know more about this, please post. Thanks!!!

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