This is a guest post by Maureen Reno, Derry, New Hampshire mom and an environmental economist:
Moms know that there is nothing more frustrating than dealing with a finicky eater. I, however, face an even greater struggle; my daughter is a vegetarian who detests vegetables. And when she is determined not to eat something, she will drag out a meal for an hour, sometimes longer. I have spent many long meals negotiating, pleading, and even threatening to withhold my daughter’s favorite daily ritual – the bedtime story. Then one day I stumbled upon a solution, quite by accident.
This past spring I thought I would try growing a small vegetable garden – more like a collection of pots lining the driveway. About a week ago, my daughter spotted the first red cherry tomato just begging to be picked, and she was so excited about snacking on such a delicious vegetable, in this case a fruit. Then it dawned on me, that was all that was necessary to nurture my daughter’s bond with her food.
If you are a busy mom like me, you certainly do not have the time to plant, much less weed a full garden. A solution is to support local farmers. There are many opportunities to support local agriculture, such as buying produce at the nearest farmers’ market. My daughter really loves our farmers’ market because she can talk to the people who grow her favorite fruits and vegetables.
If your local farmers’ market hosts hours at inconvenient times, like mid-afternoon on a weekday, seek out your local farm stand. These are usually open during the weekend. Or, seek out farms that allow you to pick your own produce. Some farmers even sell a share or a subscription whereby consumers receive a basket of seasonal produce each week throughout the growing season. Such an arrangement is called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSA’s have grown in popularity over the last couple of decades. All of these venues have granted my family multiple opportunities to participate and learn about how food is grown and harvested.
My daughter and I are not the only beneficiaries of local agriculture. Local farms benefit the community as a whole. How? My purchases will likely be kept in the community for the consumption of other local goods and services such as dance lessons or soccer teams, not a shareholder’s third vacation home.
Did you also know that your community also benefits from the cleaner air as a result of supporting local agriculture? Since local agricultural businesses usually operate on a smaller scale, they tend to use less manufacturing processes or large scale harvesting equipment. Also, local farmers travel shorter distances to deliver goods to market, thereby reducing soot pollution from transportation sources.
Thank you, Maureen!