This month, the theme we chose for media content was “Conscious Consumerism.” If you’ve been following along, you’ve seen advice on buying local, greener gifting, and giving experiences rather than things. The theme helps us focus our message and our creativity for the month, and ensures we’re bringing you the best and most timely content possible. We gather inspiration from big events, holidays, and national observance days (ie: Nov 15th is “America Recycles Day”). The upcoming holiday season was the inspiration for “Conscious Consumerism.”
During our brainstorming session, one observance that came up was that November is “World Vegan Month.” A slightly…fiery…discussion ensued. For the Food & Water Security team, food choices are the most important aspect of responsible consumption–not only because we grow food at our “day job,” but also because we are farmers, we support farmers, and we see food sovereignty as the foundation of regional resiliency. Deeply connected with food choices are environmental consequences.
Veganism can be a divisive subject; polite discourse is often impossible when there is so much misunderstanding. Yes, as a culture, Westerners eat too much meat. We should consume less meat overall, and use meat like a condiment to flavor and enhance our vegetables, grains, and legumes. However, from an ecosystem approach, agriculture with properly managed livestock is the most sustainable and environmentally restorative.
There are so many reasons to purchase your turkey from a farmer that is local. You can easily find out the conditions the turkey was raised in. You can find out what they feed the turkey. If you’re serious about looking locally for your Thanksgiving feast, Minnesota Grown is a valuable resource that will connect you with local producers throughout the year, not just for Thanksgiving. You can search for the local producer nearest you, or the one that best fits your values.
If you’re still on the fence about whether to go local or not, here are five reasons why searching locally is the best way to go.
- No Surprises
Buying a local free range turkey gives you the opportunity to know what you are eating and where it came from. Buying local gives you the ability to talk to your local farmer about their farming practices, feeding program, and processing program. You should do your research, of course.
Your Tom might be as big as this gorgeous fella.
- Just Look at Tom Turkey’s Home
Not really, but you can learn a lot by seeing how a farm raised turkeys are raised. If they’re brought up in a humane environment with the option to the great outdoors, you can check that off your list. They get their nutrition from pecking all day with additional quality feed from the local feed store (compared to the store bought turkeys that are cooped up and fed low quality medicated feed). To be sure of this, you should do your research, though.
- What Would you Pay for a Robust Local Economy?
Buying meats from your local farmer keeps money in your community. Shopping local keeps four times the money in your community’s economy compared to shopping at chains. The dollars spent locally go towards the regular things your local farmer buys! (How Quaint!) These include dentist bills, holiday presents, and other things that other “normal” people buy around town. So, shop local! Your farmer will thank you!
- Your Taste Buds will Thank You
Knowing where your meat is coming from, how it is raise, and how it is processed will automatically make you enjoy Thanksgiving dinner that much more. But the truth is, a farm fresh free range turkey tastes better. Usually, they are not pumped full of preservatives, saline, or other added ingredients. When you buy from your local farmer you are getting what you pay for… fresh turkey. But, as always when making a choice of this nature, you should do your research.
This is our most timely episode of Turtle Talks! We talk about upcoming events in our area. The Sustainable Farming Association has their hand in three upcoming community events.
- The 9th Harvest Dinner Saturday, August 25. Historically, the big draw of this event, of course, is the food. However, this year the guest speakers will be Gulf Coast fisherman. They’ll be speaking about the hypoxia zone taking place where they work and live. It should be a fun evening.
- Farm2Families is an event taking place on ALSO on Saturday, August 25. This event is meant to help connect communities with their local growers. Music, lectures, and delicious food await those who attend this event. It’s FREE to attend, but a dinner plate prepared by Chef Peter Lowe can be purchased for $15/plate.
- Minnesota Salsa Fest is a great day that brings together those that love salsa. Music, demonstrations, salsa contest, and even salsa flavored ice cream. Tickets are only $5 at the door. If you think your salsa has what it takes to win, you can enter your batch into the contest for $10. Simply fill out the form found on their site.
We also talk Porketta, and more specifically, Iron-range Porketta. Allison found a recipe that looks absolutely delicious. Give it a shot and let us know how yours turned out.
With six kids, I understand that it is infinitely easier to let your child eat a hot lunch prepared by the hard-working cafeteria folk. For the most part, the lunch that your school district offers is tasty, well-balanced, and cost-effective. However, if you want to and have the time to make your child their very own lunch, why not make it the sustainable way?
We’ve put together a quick list of how you can make your child’s lunch both delicious AND better for the environment.
Reach for reusable sandwich bags and containers
On a related note, there’s no need for single-use plastic sandwich bags. Instead, consider a waxed fabric sandwich bag, or one of the many reusable lunch containers on the market. From bento boxes to tiffins, there are loads of choices, although glass jars may be a bit too breakable for some kids. Here’s a collection of some plastic-free lunch containers (from Treehugger).