Healthy food plays a very important role in our lives. When shopping we subscribe to a local and organic diet, with conventional or global items filling in as needed (but in truth, we rarely need the latter).
Sometimes, not always, the organic costs more but we think the expense accurately reflects the real cost of food and is justified. Pesticide and chemical free, better for our health and the health of our farmers, organic food doesn’t poison our land and waterways with toxins. If you look at the externalized cost of industrialized farming on our society – higher medical bills in relation to our health problems and higher taxes to pay for cleaning up the environment – the price for organic produce and vegetables is CHEAP! Beyond all of the societal benefits offered by organic food, in our opinion, it just tastes better.
In Vermont, there is a highly supportive local and sustainable food culture.
We buy all of our non-bulk food from our locally owned and operated food coop, the Onion River City Market. As members, we are participants in deciding what lines the shelves, what policies are implemented, and who serves on the Board of Directors. Some of the other benefits that I particularly love are a 5 cent credit for using your own bags (which has reduced plastic bag use by 14%), profit sharing (we get a portion of profits every year based on the amount we spend), and the ability to become a member worker in order to get additional discounts (i.e. work 4 hrs a month and get a 12% discount). Local and organic foods and products take up a large portion of the market space but there is still room for more conventional items as well, so that people who need them do not have to go to a big box grocery store for one or two items. It’s a system based upon community and putting people first.
In April, for the Co-op’s Spring Member Meeting, we attended a special screening of the film FRESH by Ana Sofia Joanes.
The documentary was about environmentally and economically sustainable agriculture and revitilizing local economies and food culture. Our reaction to this film was immediate and intense. Obviously created by a talented director, it is a moving film, forthcoming in its truthfulness about our current failings in how we manage our land and food, yet overwhelmingly inspiring in its illumination of a grassroots movement making a difference. FRESH is currently making its debut in theatres. Check out the FRESH site to see if it will be showing near you.