If Michelle Obama can do for local food what she did for J. Crew cardigans, the locavore nation may have its new poster woman for healthy eating.
Obama, who praised community vegetable gardens while speaking at the USDA, is using her influence on American culture to further the local food movement. She’s allowed reporters into the White House kitchen to get an up-close look at what the chefs are cooking up for the first family—a mix of fresh fruits, veggies and organic foods that are healthy and nutritious. She’s served fresh food to the needy at Miriam’s Kitchen in D.C. But most importantly, she’s spreading the message about local food: It tastes better and is better for you.
First Lady Michelle Obama campaigns during election season. Photo By Robyn Vandenberg/Courtesy Flickr
“When you grow something yourself and it’s close and it’s local, oftentimes it tastes really good,” Obama says in a recent post on the White House blog. “And when you’re dealing with kids, for example, you want to get them to try that carrot. Well, if it tastes like a real carrot and it's really sweet, they're going to think that it's a piece of candy. So my kids are more inclined to try different vegetables if they're fresh and local and delicious.”
Local food is also better for the planet. It supports a healthy, clean environment that benefits wildlife and the land. Growing local, seasonal food preserves genetic diversity and reduces our reliance on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Buying local contributes to the community economy and protects our food supply for the future.
With the spring season upon us, here are a few tips on how to eat in-season and get local food on your dinner table:
1. Become a member of a community-supported agriculture program (CSA). CSA season is usually from late spring through early fall. Find your local CSA through Local Harvest.
2. Support local farmers by purchasing fresh food from the farmer’s market. Local produce, honey and jams are widely available. Find a farmer’s market in your state.
3. Find a food coop (a worker- or customer-owned business) in your area. Coops provide customer control of the foods and products that sell in the store. Bonus: Many coops offer healthy cooking classes.