Imagine sitting down to a dinner grown right within your community: Your salad came from the farm up the road, a new variety of lettuce that maintains a delicate flavor well into the hotter days of the season. The tomatoes are a rich explosion of color, an heirloom brought to America many generations ago, and the pride of the farmer’s cultural heritage. The cucumbers are from a bountiful bumper crop that a grower graciously stuffed into your farmer’s market shopping bag with a smile. You’re eating so much more than a plate full of vegetables when you buy locally: you’re supporting a cultural revolution.
When did we detach from our local food economy? Do you know where that pale tomato on your limp lettuce came from? Today, the average food item travels 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate. That’s enough time for substantial nutritional loss. Mature spinach, for instance, loses 80% of its vitamin C after only three days.
Aside from nutritional loss, the environmental effects from overreaching food systems are having a devastating impact. When food producers are connected to local consumers, the potential increases to grow sustainable and reliant food systems.
With recent disruptions to our supply networks, it has become apparent how localizing food systems is critical to building resilient local economies. Food security is an ever-evolving conversation that involves a shifting climate, rising food prices, and changing land-use patterns. When a community builds a close relationship with growers, food security becomes a dynamic system responsive to the needs within the system, be it grower needs or consumer needs!
The Mohawk Valley has unique cultural heritage that remains closely tied to its geography and agricultural prowess. Celebrate our local heritage, and support our farmers! We are pleased to offer the resources within this website to help offer guidance along the quest to eat locally and Cultivate Herkimer County.