Gardening & Food

The Assabet Village Food Co-op is an initiative to build a community owned market that provides access to healthy, affordable food in downtown Maynard.  The Vision for the co-op is:

• To build a store that will be owned and democratically governed by its members.
• To thrive through the practice of economic and environmental sustainability.
• To sell healthy and nourishing food at an affordable price, and in doing so promote healthful living.
• To serve as a gathering place, one that is accessible and welcoming.
• To engage the community through outreach and education.
• To empower our members to support the local economy and our local food producers.

Join today at The Assabet Village Food Co-op web-site.

Locavore -  one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible. 

See Aug. 31, 2009, Time Magazine article, The Real Cost of Cheap Food.

Where can I find local food?

Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.

We can only afford to do this now because of the artificially low energy prices that we currently enjoy, and by externalizing the environmental costs of such a wasteful food system. We do this also to the detriment of small farmers by subsidizing large scale, agribusiness-oriented agriculture with government handouts and artificially cheap energy.

Cheap oil will not last forever though. World oil production has already peaked, according to some estimates, and while demand for energy continues to grow, supply will soon start dwindling, sending the price of energy through the roof. We'll be forced then to reevaluate our food systems and place more emphasis on energy efficient agricultural methods, like smaller-scale organic agriculture, and on local production wherever possible.

Cheap energy and agricultural subsidies facilitate a type of agriculture that is destroying and polluting our soils and water, weakening our communities, and concentrating wealth and power into a few hands. It is also threatening the security of our food systems, as demonstrated by the continued e-Coli, GMO-contamination, and other health scares that are often seen nowadays on the news. These large-scale, agribusiness-oriented food systems are bound to fail on the long term, sunk by their
own unsustainability. But why wait until we're forced by circumstance to abandon our destructive patterns of consumption? We can start now by buying locally grown food whenever possible. By doing so you'll be helping preserve the environment, and you'll be strengthening your community by investing your food dollar close to home. Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower; 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen. Cut them out of the picture and buy your food directly from your local farmer.

Eat Sustainably and Seasonally 

An important part of buying local is making an effort to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season in your area. Although today's global marketplace allows us to buy foods grown virtually anywhere in the world all year round, these options are not the most sustainable. By purchasing local foods in-season, you eliminate the environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles, your food dollar goes directly to the farmer, and your family will be able to enjoy the
health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables.

Buying seasonal produce also provides
an exciting opportunity to try new foods and to experiment with seasonal recipes. And it simply tastes better!

Even if you don't want to change any of your eating habits, you can at least make sure to buy local produce when it's available, rather than purchase the same type of food from 3000 miles away!

For an added challenge, try to eat most foods only when they are in season, or can seasonal food in order to eat and enjoy it all year round.