Something has been toubling me for some time, and I'd like to know what everyone else thinks. Years ago I used to buy excess local produce from neighborhood gardeners. When they had a bumper crop of anything, rather than try to unload it on the neighbors, I let them know that I would pay. This concept has evolved into the fresh/local thing, which I understand, but believe we are taking to an extreme to the point that I wonder if we are being responsible. One of our local charter schools recently hired a national subcontractor to do their school lunches. There was an article in the local paper where they stated they were doing all "Fresh and local". I live in S.E. Minnesota. Today is Oct. 12, and admittedly early, but it snowed all day. I can't help wondering what they think they're going to serve these kids if it's going to be "fresh and local". They bragged they serve no canned fruit. (Looking at the average lunch menu, I think canned fruit is the least of their worries). Anyway, the only local fruit we have around here at this time of year is apples, and I think kids will get sick of apples in a hurry. We used to buy crates of peaches, pears and cherries in season and can our own at home. Since when is canned food bad for you ?( Other than salt content, which the canneries would change under pressure.) The public schools here have introduced buffalo to the school menu with great success. We have several buffalo farms in the area, so this makes sense. We also have two major canning factories within 50 miles of here that buy local crops to process. This employs local people, both the farmers who raise the crops and the people who can it. It's local, but canned. Which brings me around to the point of this thread; When we preach "fresh and local", do we even know what we are talking about? Are we leaving people (especially kids) with the idea that if a vegetable is canned or frozen, it's bad for you? I'm afraid we are. After Jurassic Park came out, dinosaurs were "It". I heard little kids saying they wished we hadn't killed off the dinosaurs. They weren't aware that there were no human beings on Earth at the time of the dinosaurs. They felt guilty for existing because they thought if they weren't here the dinosaurs would still be around. So now, are we fostering a mind-set where they will guily for eating a canned or frozen vegetable? Or that they did something wrong by eating chili that had canned tomatoes instead of "fresh", "local", (or for optimuml guilt) "not organic"? I'm afraid that's exactly what we're doing. Any thoughts?
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10/13/09 at 12:43am