I wish I had a tape measure at last Saturday’s Homer Farmers Market. That broccoli and cauliflower must have been at least 10 inches across. Here we haven’t even reached July yet and we are already getting produce that big.
Whether it is the huge broccoli from the Chmielowiecs or Lori Jenkin’s farm or the stunning calla lillies from Beth VanSant’s farm, the Market producers certainly do know how to make things grow.
But all the responsibility for a local food system can’t land on one food outlet.
Less than 1 percent of Americans consider themselves farmers. It’s no wonder that large-scale, chemical-based agriculture dominates. As people who eat food, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, we can’t afford to ignore where that food comes from.
Participating in the growth and strengthening of a local food system can take many forms. Supporting your local Market is, of course, one obvious way to add to the economy of the small-scale growers in your area. You can even justify buying one of their T-shirts just to help spread the word (new ones will be at the Market this Saturday).
But having an occasional fresh meal from the Market is only the start. How can you amplify it more? Trying to be a locavore (a person who eats only locally produced food) will quickly teach you how challenging it can be to fill your entire diet with local food.
Eating more local food may require starting your own garden. It may require joining a Community Supported Agriculture venture and getting a box of veggies delivered each week. It may involve trading something you have readily available for something harder to get (like beef or fish).
It may mean taking advantage of those piles of cucumbers coming into Robert’s booth and canning some. Preserving the harvest is key in Alaska for having food year-round. This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. you can even get your canner gauge tested by the Cooperative Extension Service at the front info booth.
So head on down to the Market on Ocean Drive Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to see the best way you can strengthen our local food economy.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan — or at least one of them.