Squirrel has been playing around in the kitchen and thinking about how to mix it up and bring these classic snack foods to the dinner table. He’s been referencing this great article, which includes 7 recipes for incorporating hummus into a meal. He also likes this “Speedy Salsa Soup” recipe, which uses salsa as a hearty base for soupto keep warm during these last weeks of winter.
Food for Thought
The True Costs of Food Production
Today we put some thought into understanding the nuances of food production. This knowledge allows us to make informed choices about what we eat; the farmers and producers we support with our dollar(s); and practices that either maintain soil health and the environment we all live in, or don’t. Pastoral Song by James Rebanks, published in 2020 and available through the Erie County Public Library, highlights these issues and has inspired this column. Using his family farm as a backdrop, Rebanks shares the story of how farming has changed in his lifetime. He discusses why and how he is restoring many of the old rhythms of farming used by his grandfather, including seasonal crop and animal rotation, and foregoing chemical inputs, because he has witnessed their connection to healthy soil and a farm rich in natural diversity. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this review from NPR.
Halfway through the book, Rebanks compares a local food system and the supermarket system. The first provides opportunities for conversation between customers and farmers or butchers, serves as ‘an exchange of knowledge and values,’ and makes real the hard work of farming and the importance of fair prices for small family farms. The supermarket system focuses on getting food to us as cheaply as possible. This scale of production may result in cheaper prices on the shelf but, when we focus on price alone, we neglect to factor in other outcomes of this system such as soil depletion, quality of life for livestock, abusive labor practices for farm workers, and food recalls.
How to prioritize our regional food system? Talk with local legislators about shifting government support from large scale to small and medium scale farms. Purchase your meat or produce directly from local farms. Join a CSA. Shop at Edinboro Market, or Meadville Market House, or Core Goods in Oil City…three small markets that are working together to grow our regional food system.
Oh, and read Pastoral Song.
We just wanted to remind everyone that we accept SNAP & EBT as payment methods at the Market. We are proud to be able to serve our entire NWPA community and neighbors.