In celebration of Earth Day, I’d like to take a break from talking about grilling meat to talk about, well… grilling local meat.
Becoming a localvore – a person dedicated to eating food grown and produced locally – is one of the best ways you can contribute to a healthier environment. Eating locally:
- Creates less pollution – fewer fossil fuels are burned getting the food to you.
- Benefits the local economy – a dollar spent with a local farmer generates twice as much income for the immediate economy.
- Is more sustainable and self-sufficient – when our community can grow its own food, we are less vulnerable to being manipulated by the big guys who don’t always have our best interests at heart.
- Is healthier – locally grown food is fresher and requires fewer preservatives.
Even if you ignore all of the global/geopolitical/environmental issues – local food just tastes better. In my own experience, you can’t beat the quality of locally produced beef, pork, and chicken. We’re fortunate enough to have a number of local producers, and there’s no comparison between their product and the stuff that’s available commercially. From within 10 miles of us we can get eggs with deep yellow yolks and chickens that still have dark meat. The pork that my nearby brother-in-law produces is dark and flavorful, not pale and watery. And the grass-fed beef and buffalo that we get is simply outstanding both in terms of taste and nutrition.
Where can you get local meat products? Try the Eat Well Guide. Just enter your zip code and they’ll provide of list of farmers in your area. Eatwild provides a similar service along with an interactive map to help you find local grass-fed meats. Foodroutes provides links to co-ops, farmer’s markets, and restaurants that feature local foods. LocalHarvest is another good resources that lists local alternatives for organic products.
Want to learn more about the localvore movement? Read Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally or In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.