Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign supports local farmer, local economy

By Willa Simmet 2008

When I venture into the kitchen and search through my fridge and cupboards, I find salad greens from Kate McDonald and Matt Janssen who sell at the Cedar Falls Farmers Market, raspberries from Mr. And Mrs. Jim Shield from Fairbank, milk and ice cream from the Hansen family from Hudson, tomatoes from our neighbor Sandy Sutton, green peppers from Greg Hoffman from Waterloo and basil and parsley from our garden. All of this was grown or produced locally.

There are many options fro you when faced with the dilemma of where you will buy your food, but isn’t it cool when you can get it from people you know, people you can actually talk to?

“Buy Fresh, Buy Local is an educational program to encourage people to look around them and find sources of locally grown food,” said Kamyar Enshayan, director of Buy Fresh, Buy Local at the University of Northern Iowa. “Your should go to farmers’ markets to become familiar with what’s out there.”

Things at the farmers’ market were picked a couple hours before you eat them and what you find in the grocery store is at least a couple of days in transit — designed for long shelf life, not taste.”

Buy Fresh, Buy Local supports local family farms, reduces pesticide use, supports the local economy, has better tasting foods and is “thousands of miles fresher,” says the Buy Fresh, Buy Local website.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go to a restaurant, have food prepared for us and be able to ask where it came from without dreading asking the question? Well, you can! Cottonwood Canyon Coffee, Cup of Joe, Jag’s Java Express, Montage, Pablo’s Mexican Grill, Panther Pause Cafe and Tony’s La Pizzeria — all in Cedar Falls; CU Restaurant, Gary’s Cafe, Rudy’s Tacos, Steamboat Gardens and Tony’s Trattoria — all in Waterloo; and Martin’s Brandenburg and Centennial Oaks Golf Club — both in Waverly — support the Buy Fresh, Buy Local initiative and serve locally grown food when available. Grocery stores taking part in Buy Fresh, Buy Local include Root’s Market in Cedar Falls, Hometown Foods in Waterloo, Dean’s Grocery and National Foods in Aplington and D and K Foods in Gilberville. Ask at your grocery stores what local foods they sell. If they don’t sell any, tell them you’d like them to.

Residents of Black Hawk County spend nearly $400 million on food and eating out every year, Enshayan said. Most of this money leaves the county and state because most of the food we buy in Iowa has been grown elsewhere.

Wouldn’t it be great if a little more of that money was spent in town? You can do your part by checking out the Buy Fresh, Buy Local website at www.uni.edu/ceee/foodproject/.

 

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