August–the sun is out in the Pacific Northwest. Such a rarity, I have to spend all my time outside. But now it’s time to get back to blogging.
We recently returned from a three-week road trip covering a lot of the United States. Pacific Northwest to Colorado, to the midwest, to part of the south (well, I think of Tennessee and Arkansas as the south anyway….), and back across. I LOVE traveling through the U.S., wonderful people everywhere, and geography covering everything from mountains to plains. And I was so encouraged to see that the local foods movement is prevalent everywhere we went.
My first surprise was the fantastic farmer’s market in Lincoln, Nebraska. And there were farmer’s markets everywhere, small towns, large cities, filled with friendly farmers and much more interesting produce that you can find in the grocery store. I wasn’t even really searching for farmer’s markets, but they were advertised and obvious.
And here’s a unique roadside vegetable stand in Wisconsin. Total trust with this unmanned stand; just put your money in the pay slot. Love the midwest.
And there was even a community garden in Baldwin, Wisconsin, my husband’s very small hometown.
I saw lots of restaurants featuring local foods, and I already wrote about local foods at the ballpark in Little Rock, Arkansas.
But I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture here. In spite of all of these hopeful signs, the industrial food system is still alive and well. Every large town freeway exit has several fast food restaurants. As I pondered this depressing fact, I realized that really a once-or-twice weekly farmer’s market, even if it is very crowded, can’t really compete with all-day every-day fast food. Sigh. And yet….we are making progress. In 2012, there were 7864 farmer’s markets in the U.S., a 9.6 % increase from 2011 when there were 7175. And that year was a 17% increase from 2010. Thank you, farmers, market organizers, community gardeners, and everyone else helping us build a healthy food community.