LocalHarvest Newsletter, November 23, 2010

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

Several years ago when eating at a good friend's home, we joined in her family's table blessing: "We are thankful for this food, and that we are together." Doesn't that just about sum it up? We loved it. When our daughter was old enough, we taught the blessing to her and it became part of our family's supper ritual. Now our girl is about to turn four, and of late has been having a hard time making it through the entire grace before pulling her hands from ours and digging in. When that happens we all take a breath and start the blessing over. If we race through the words, or miss half of them, it doesn't really count. It is the pause that is important.

All told, our blessing takes just a few seconds, but those few seconds are important to me. In them I arrive more fully at the table, after rushing around preparing food and taking care of the business of the household. In them I really look at my family and at the food in front of us and in seeing them and it more deeply can move into the evening with more grace than I otherwise would.

It's a good week for a much longer pause. Though it is easy to look around and see much that needs fixing, there is also so much for which to be grateful. On my list are Rae, Nick, Kathy, Paul and Emily – the farmers from whom my family buys much of our food. I am grateful to them, and to all family farmers, for their labor and the love they put into it.

In a time of increasingly rancorous political polarization, I am grateful for every instance of civil and engaged debate. Last month I wrote a short article about Walmart's plans to begin stocking local food in its grocery aisles. Figuring that some of you would have something to say about the idea, we had intended to open up the article for public comments, but somewhere in the flurry of preparing the newsletter for publication, we forgot. Several people took the time to write to me, which I appreciated. They raised such disparate valid points that we thought the whole conversation ought to continue. With their permission, we are reprinting them below. If you would like to add your two cents, please do! We would like to hear what you think. And if you missed the original article, here it is.

On my list of things to be grateful for is Judith McGeary of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. Judith has been working tirelessly to protect small scale farmers from illogical and overly burdensome regulations in the upcoming Food Safety Bill. Legislative action is hard slogging work, and Judith and her comrades have stayed with this one for some 18 months now. Thanks, Judith! The final vote is near, and success is within reach! Judith says the Senate needs to hear from a lot of people, so please see our action alert below, and call your Senator in support of the Tester Amendment.

Finally, I am grateful for the millions of people who are making a habit of purchasing some of their food locally. We are creating a sustainable food system, one strong family farm at a time! May this new system serve all of us well: may we all find wholesome, affordable food there, may the labor that went into raising it be valued, and may the food itself be consumed with gratitude.

In this Thanksgiving week, may your tables be laden and your hearts and bellies full.
Erin

Erin Barnett
Director
LocalHarvest



From the LocalHarvest Store:

Love to decorate for the holidays? Our most popular seller is this boxwood wreath. We also carry balsam, pine, fir, mixed green, and dried flower wreaths. Order early, so you can enjoy your wreath all season long.

Ready or not, the holiday gift giving season is upon us. Why not avoid the mall and buy presents made by family farmers? We've got over 8,000 products in our LocalHarvest catalog, including a wide variety of gift baskets, fruit, meats, honey, and of course, our ever-popular gift certificates!



Readers' Thoughts on "Walmart and Local"

Last month I wrote a short article about Walmart's plans to begin stocking local food in its grocery aisles. Several people took the time to write to me, which I appreciated. They raised such disparate valid points that we thought the whole conversation ought to continue. With their permission, we are reprinting them below.



Call Your Senators: Agribusiness Shows Its True Colors!

Even though an agreement was reached on the Tester-Hagan amendment last week, the issue of the food safety bill is still not over! For over a year, the big agribusiness trade organizations have supported passage of S.510, the  Food Safety Modernization Act. From Agribusiness's perspective, the bill was a win-win: they could absorb the costs of the regulations because of their size; they'd gain good PR for supposedly improving food safety practices; and the competition created by local food producers, which are rapidly growing, would be crushed by the regulatory burdens. More...



Food from the Farm: Onion Soup

All Fall I have been craving caramelized onions for their sweet and grounding goodness. This soup feels nourishing and warming, without being heavy – a good thing to serve in the days before or after Thanksgiving! Many thanks to Laura Judd from Down to Earth CSA in Stafford Springs, CT for sharing this recipe with us!.

Recipe...