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Taking back control of our food sources.

What's happening to our food? How did it happen that cows are routinely fed chicken litter, hormones and antibiotics, and parts of other cows? Why does our food travel an average 1,500 miles and many days from the farm to the dinner table while local farmers are going out of business? Why are pigs and chickens raised in cages so small that they can barely turn around and have to have their tails cut off or their beaks clipped in order to keep down the stressed induced mutilations? Why do we have outbreaks of hepatitis from imported green onions?

And why is there massive destruction and loss of soils, heavy chemical and fuel inputs, and an agriculture system based on industrial models? Why is there an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, particularly among people who can least afford food? Why are foods genetically engineered but not labeled as such, labels being something that over 90% of Americans want on their prepared foods? And why are we losing our farmers, losing them so rapidly that there are now more people in the United States in prison than there are farming the land? The answer is that we have lost control of our food system.

For the last 10,000 years or so, all of agriculture was local. Most of our grandparents grew up eating food that they grew themselves, or they knew the farmer that they grew the food. Only in the last couple of generations has there been such a radical disconnect from the food that we eat and the farmers that produce it. This has led to a massive concentration in food production, with food becoming just another global commodity, and the near total loss of control on the part of the consumer. Most food production is now out of sight and thus out of mind. That's why good people of good conscience end up supporting a system that is bad for farmers, bad for farm animals, bad for the land, and bad for the consumers.

And our tax dollars support this massive concentration of farms and the system that makes the foods that are the least healthy for us the cheapest. It is a bitter irony that most of the subsidies to agriculture, subsidies that come from our tax dollars, go to farmers growing corn for corn sugar and grains for meat. This means that almost all prepared foods--from soda to pasta sauce--now contain corn sweetener. It also means that grain-fed meat--meat very high in fat--is extremely cheap. Americans are consuming massive amounts of these prepared foods and cheap fatty meats and getting more overweight and unhealthy. At the same time we are experiencing an epidemic of obesity, an epidemic that is already consuming everyone's dollars through increased health costs, and now tax dollars are being used directly to address this epidemic.

We can take back our food system. The one sure way to make certain you are not supporting the current destructive industrial agriculture system is to buy locally grown food. Getting to know the person who grows your food is a powerful way to reconnect with food and community--when you support your local farm, you get the freshest food, keep money in the local economy, and make sure that we keep farms as part of our landscape, while making sure that you have a say in how the food is grown.

In the southern Appalachians, we still have many family farms that are eager to grow food for local communities. We are at a critical time for farmers and farmland, with the average age of farmers approaching retirement and too few new farmers to take their place. Only by supporting local agriculture can we create the markets that will attract the new farmers. And only by attracting new farmers and keeping our farms in production will we save the rural landscape of farms and forest that we love.

Fortunately for farmers and communities, there is growing support for local food. Farmers know that their best markets are local and they want their food to stay in the community. Consumers are learning about the high cost of our current food system and that locally grown food is fresher and supports the local economy.

At this time of year, one great way to get the freshest food and reconnect with local farms is to join a CSA. A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a direct connection between the farmer and the community. The CSA member pays at the start of the year for a share of the season's harvest, and then gets a weekly delivery of the freshest food available. The farmer gets money up front and the support of the community.

WNC CSAs

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a direct connection between the farmers and the consumers. To join a CSA is to buy a share of the season's harvest. The former grains the security of knowing he or she has been paid for a portion of the harvest and the farmer's "community" participates in how and where their food is grown. This direct connection puts the face and place of food in full view.

Before the start of the season, when the farmer is planning the upcoming year, shares are sold to members of the community at a fixed price. The farmer plans the plantings to meet the shares that have been sold. Every week throughout the season, the CSA community receives a box of that week's harvest. Most of the local CSAs will deliver to several convenient area locations, but they always encourage the community to come to the farm, and even to participate in the growing of their food. Find the most up-to-date information on CSAs at www.BuyAppalach-ian.org.

CARL AND PATS

Patryk Battle

176 White Oak Creek Rd.

Burnsville, NC 28714

828-675-5920

patrykbattle@hotmail.com

Asheville pick up at the French Broad Food Coop and Celo pick-up. Other pick-up sites possible.

DEERWOOD GARDENS

Alice Dewhurst

525 Louisa Ridge

Franklin, NC 28734

828-524-6164; fax: 828-524-6100

deerwoodfarm@planet-save.com

We sell farm shares to members in Macon County only. Our products include vegetables, cat and edible flowers, berries, eggs and honey.

DOGWOOD HILLS FARM

Steven Yokim, Jessie Lehmann, and Melissa Fridlin

369 Ox Creek Rd.

Weaverville, NC 28787

828-645-6286

syokim@buncombe.main.nc.us

A ten-acre farm offering pick-your-own cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, black raspberries, and grapes; also over 60 heirloom varieties of apples. Our CSA shares include a wide range of fresh vegetables and herbs. Transitioning to organic; we currently use no chemical pesticides or herbicides. Wood-fired breads and pizzas also available. Fall and half shares available. Customer picks up box at farm June-October

FISHER BRANCH FARM

Jenifer Miller

526 Fisher Branch Rd.

Marshall, NC 28753

828-689-4505

fisherbranchfarm@yahoo.com

Flower shares. May through October. Pickups in Asheville.

FULL SUN FARM LEICESTER

Buncombe County

Alex Brown or Vanessa Campbell

828-683-1607

90 Bald Creek Road, Leicester, NC 28748.

fullsunfarm@earthlink.net

Full Sun Farm is a certified organic market farm located northwest of Asheville in Sandy Mush Valley. We cultivate 41/2 acres of vegetables, cut flowers, and berries. We sell direct to consumers at the Saturday North Asheville and the Wednesday French Broad Food Cooperative tailgate markets, and through a 36 member CSA. Pick-up: Wednesday from 3pm-6:30 in West Asheville at a CSA members home and Downtown at the French Broad Food Coop Tailgate Market

GREEN TOE GROUND FARM

Gaelan Corozine Nicole DelCogliano

411 Pope Rd.

Burnsville, NC 28714

828-675-0171

www.greentoeground.com

We are a diverse CSA farm, cultivating 2 acres of handcrafted, ecologically grown vegetables, flowers and herbs. Offering local eggs and honey. CFSA member farm. Celo area.

HOMEGROWN HERITAGE

Jeffery and Jennifer McConnaughey

644 Morgan Branch Road

Candler, NC 28715

828-667-5516

holistic@lycosmail.com

WNC's premier BioIntensive "Mini-Farm" specializing in authentic heirloom/heritage gourmet produce, berries, and culinary herbs from the South and around the world. Also rare and ornamental vegetable and culinary/medicinal herb plants. Although previously certified organic, politicalization of organic standards has convinced us not to re-certify. Seed-saving workshops available. Home delivery in Buncombe County.

JAKE'S FARM

Chris Sawyer & Missy Huger

Brown Lynch Road

Candler, NC 28715

828-665-4472

www.jakesfarm.com

jakesfarm@msn.com

Established in 1998 and Certified Organic in 1999 we sell wide variety of produce including some small fruit, Two greenhouses operate all year. We welcome visitors by appointment. We Offer a wide variety of Certified Organic produce including some heirloom varieties, cut flowers and herbs. Pack your own.

MARKET GARDENS AT HICKORY NUT GAP FARMS

Annie Louise & Isaiah Perkinson

1860 Charlotte Hwy.

Fairview NC 28730

828-628-3348

anniel@buncombe.main.nc.us

We are the fourth generation working on our family farm. We have added a new enterprise to the farm mix, sustainably produced vegetables, fruits, and flowers.

MOUNTAIN HARVEST ORGANICS

Julie Mansfield or Carl Evans

77 Wyatt Lane

Hot Springs, NC 28743

828-622-3654

farmer@MountainHarvestOrganic.com

www.MountainHarvestOrganic.com

This century old farm is located in the Spring Creek Community northwest of Asheville. How a certified organic farm, we grow a wide variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs and plants. Our unique location inspires us to use ecological farming practices to preserve habitat for future generations.

NEW MOON HERBS ORGANIC FARM

Gregg Adams

85 Laurel Haven

Fairview, NC 28730

828-628-1272

Newmoonherbs@aol.com

New Moon Herbs Organic Farm Established in 1993, New Moon Herbs Organic Farm features a full line of organic vegetables, herbs and berries. We love to sell to restaurants, retail outlets, thru our growing CSA and the Fairview Tailgate Market. Accepting members for 2003.

OLIVER ORGANICS

Hal Oliver

101 Winsom Trail

Hendersonville, NC 28739

828-697-1153

olivorg@bellsouth.net

Over 100 vegetable, flower and herb plants grown sustainably. Produce available to individuals and restaurants. Hendersonville Tailgate (King street Saturdays)-Herb Festival-Garden Jubilee. Subscription available by February 1st. Full for 2003.

PALMER FORD ORGANICS

Will Osborne

Mars Hill, NC

828-689-8596

palmerfordorganics@hotmail.com

A sixteen acre certified organic farm near Mars Hill NC in Madison County offering vegetable and Blower csa shares. One csa customer told us this year that he loves the diversity in his weekly box. Adding raspberries and half shares in 2004, we will offer pickups in West Asheville and Mars Hill. In 2003 we fulfilled our commitment for 18 weeks of delicious food.

SEVEN SPRINGS FARM

Ron Juftes

426 Jerry Ln.

Check, VA

540-651-3228

foodforthought7@yahoo.com

www.7springsfarm.com

We run a CSA and organic gardening products catalog from our farm. For detailed information on the CSA and products business refer to the web. Pickup ites in Blacksburg, Roanoke, Radford, Floyd, Christiansburg, Martinsville.

VEGENUI GARDENS

Ron and Cathy Arps

402 Carver Mountain Valley

Sylva, NC 28779-8564

828-586-5478

ronarps@jackson.main.nc.us

Vegetables, flowers and herbs from mid-May through September. Regular (weekly) and half shares (biweekly). Pickup at farm.

Find a local CSA and other sources of locally grown food in the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project's Local Food Guide, available in print and on the web at www.BuyAppalachian.org. Charlie Jackson is the Local Food Campaign Director of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. For more info on ASAP, contact him at 828-293-3262, Charlie@BuyAppalachian.org.
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Title Annotation:Buy Local
Author:Jackson, Charlie
Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Words:1863
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