Knowing The Source

Katy Deardorff is a Peninsula Pulse intern entering her sophomore year at Indiana University. This summer she was assigned the task of collecting information for the Green Page, but there was one problem – she didn’t know much about going green. Here, she details her ongoing education.

Have you seen those commercials convincing you to buy locally grown food? The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has started the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin campaign to help promote the local economy, urging people to keep their food dollars in Wisconsin. Unearthing the benefits of buying local is step number three in my continuing green education.

The food we pick up at the local grocer has taken quite a trip. Estimates say most food travels at least 1,300 miles from farm to your dinner table, often sitting in transit seven to 14 days. But Door County is a great place to get locally grown produce this time of year. The Web site estimates there are around 3,100 farmers markets in the United States, and Door County boasts five weekly markets, in addition to farm market stands open regularly throughout the growing season.

There are several ways that buying locally grown food will help you go green. I enjoy walking around the famer’s market and talking to the people selling the goods. This allows me to connect with the farmers and understand more about what they do. The trip supplies me with an enriching opportunity that allows me to learn and to connect with the local people of Door County.

When you know where your food is coming from and who is growing, cultivating, and picking it, you feel a part of the process. Ultimately, when buying local the consumer knows exactly where their money is going and whom they are supporting.

Think about what you are paying for when you buy imported food. You are paying for your food to be transported, cooled, and preserved. When you buy locally you are paying the farmer for variety and for taste, not for pesticides and preservatives. Small farmers are earning smaller real incomes every year, while corporate agribusiness profits have skyrocketed.

And when you stop paying for transportation you stop paying for gas, reducing the amount of pollution and gas consumption.

Just walking around the famer’s market has taught me so much about where my food comes from. So next time you go to a grocery store and pick up a piece of fruit ask yourself where has this been and how did it get here. Then go to the farmer selling their product at the farmer’s market and ask him the same question, I’m sure he’ll have an answer for you.

• Weekly Door County Farmers Markets:

Organic or Better Produce Market

Harbor Court Shops

9426 Cedar Street

Fish Creek

Saturdays, noon – 4 pm

Saturday Farmers Market

Corner of Michigan Street & 4th Ave.,

Sturgeon Bay

Saturdays, 9 am – 12:30 pm

Sister Bay Farmers Market

Corner of the Past

Hwy 57 & County Lane

South of Sister Bay

8 am – noon

Jacksonport Farmers Market

Lakeside Park

Corner of Hwy 57 & Cty V

9 am – 1 pm

Settlement Farmer’s Market

Settlement Shops

9106 Hwy 42

Fish Creek

10:30 am – 1 pm