Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Eat Local and in Season

This year my kids studied energy use for their LegoRobotics project. They focused on how much fuel and energy (for food storage, etc…) are saved when we buy locally grown food. Although my kids didn't use media, I was thrilled to see that a school class has explored this idea. Their presentation is inspirational!

My kids learned that the nutritional value of local food is usually higher because food is fresher and hasn’t had to be artificially ripened. Financially, buying local produce gives you more “bang for your buck”; on the surface, the price may not look a lot different, but nutritionally, locally grown food is usually superior and better for the environment…and may save a lot of money in the future by reduced pesticide use, less fuel costs, reduced need for energy, etc… An added benefit? The money you pay goes directly to the people who grew your food, eliminating the "middle man" of industry...which is where much of our food dollars go. I especially like buying local because I can talk to my grower. "What chemicals were used? How often? How recently?"

For the Lego project, my kids put together a cold frame using a raised bed in our garden and a couple of old window frames. They grew radishes, spinach, and kale in the dead of winter. The broccoli has just started to develop buds. Yesterday, we ate a delicious kale salad. On Saturday, we planted both lettuce and spinach in the cold frame, anticipating some early spring salads…and all for the cost of a few seeds.

One of my favorite cookbooks, Simply in Season, is one that I turn to extensively for ideas about how to eat foods that are currently in season. During the upcoming months, I’ll try to reference some of our favorite recipes. In Sunday School we did a study of the connection between food and faith through the exploration of eating local, seasonal food. We used the Simply in Season Leader’s Study Guide which is available free here.

It was an inspirational introduction to thoughtful food buying and eating. It would be an excellent study for any small group or book club.

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

Your kids' efforts in this regard are impressive! I've got King Corn if you ever want to borrow it.....the visual expression of Omnivore's Dilemma. Good stuff.

abc123vn said...

What a great idea! Sounds like you have some great kids!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you're familiar with the More-With-Less Cookbook, but I strongly suggest it and think you would enjoy it.

richmomma said...

"I don't know if you're familiar with the More-With-Less Cookbook, but I strongly suggest it and think you would enjoy it."

LOL. :) Read this post:

http://richmoments.blogspot.com/2008/02/5-year-old-says-more-lentils.html

It's one of the most well-used cookbooks in my house. I think I need a new copy, because mine is giving out after overuse. ;)

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