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grantsign

Although I find the subject of food politics fascinating, I’ll spare you (sort of) my comestible ranting and stick to some of the more fun aspects of farming, food and healthy living.

But first, a little background.

Okay, I admit it — I drive an SUV. I was born and raised in Colorado, what else would I drive? I ski, hike, backpack and own a 130 pound furry dog. I’m not trading in my 4-wheel drive Pathfinder for some little foo-foo, plug-in car.

Having said that, I also care about the environment. Second to cars, the way our food is produced and distributed uses more fossil fuel than any other segment of the economy. And according to some of the experts who study this stuff, our Standard American Diet (SAD) contributes over one-third of the greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. Not to mention what that diet does to our general health.

Food travels an average of 1500 miles before it lands on our dinner plate. Most of the time we have no idea where it came from, who grew it, or how it made its way into our homes. Other than the short trip from isle 14 at the supermarket and into the kitchen.

So, to do my part, I’m keeping my 9 year old SUV “clunker” and instead of taking the $4500 in government subsidy money and trading it in on a new car, I’ll make an effort to eat as much locally grown, seasonal food as possible. Is “cash for kale” part of any of these government stimulus packages? That might fit nicely into all three of these bills currently stirring up debate in Congress; climate change, food safety and health care. Oooh, as tempting as this political thread is, I’ll resist jumping on my soap box (or fruit box, in this case) and move on to the fun stuff.

Those of us who belong to the Grant Farms CSA program know where a good part of our food comes from. At least 26 week’s worth, but most of us don’t know the finer details. Here’s a closer look, complete with photos I took last Saturday while indulging my hippie-girl roots and painting flowers and peace signs on the farm-tour buses.

smelltheflowers

. . . and eat your veggies.

janemaggie

Grant Farm’s Jane and Maggie – peace, love, Bob Dylan and sparkly farkle.

joshladybugs

You’d never guess who the lady-bug painting expert was. These farm boys are gentle souls (right, Josh?).

lettucewithasmile

This organic lettuce was grown with care by Andy Grant, Ricardo (lettuce scientist extraordinaire) and the gang at Grant Family Farms. It’s harvested at its peak and packed carefully into the CSA delivery boxes by Uriel (above) and his coworkers for pick-up by us, the lucky shareholders. Even knowing the basics of the process, it’s hard for me to imagine how much work actually went into growing and getting that bunch of lettuce into my hands. To be honest, I have no clue, but I can see the pride in Uriel’s eyes and the spirit behind his smile and that gives me a hint.

chicabonitaalonzo

This is Carmen, carefully dishing out summer squash while flashing her mega-watt smile. There’s a whole assembly line of cheerful, hard-working people putting together our CSA share boxes. Visiting the farm, touring the distribution center and meeting the people who grow, care for, harvest, organize and distribute the food makes it taste all the more delicious.

And Alonzo — a delightful smile to match a pleasant attitude. Now, don’t you appreciate that squash a little more knowing where it came from? And doesn’t that make you smile too? Go ahead, I dare you. Look into these faces and try not to smile. See, it’s impossible (snicker, snicker).

Good people, good energy, good food.

Okay, I don’t want rant (too much) and I don’t want to preach (too much), but by purchasing locally grown food from folks like this who care about the land and value the goods they’re producing, we become an important part of that community — a cog in the health and sustainability of the cycle. They need us and we need them.

It’s a privilege. Thanks, Andy and gang!

Peace, love and veggies!
Melissa

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20 Responses to “do you know where your dinner came from?”

  1. Rosie says:

    In the first part of your blog entry you had mentioned how you sometimes take part in ranting and raving about the food industry… boy it’s nice to meet like-minded souls! I was looked on as being a weirdo throughout my life for my “extreme” views of how one should eat completely organic and try to choose locally-grown… gluten-free, healthy and organic are some wonderful words…

  2. Melissa says:

    Well, then you’re preaching to the weirdo choir (like-minded souls), Rosie! We’re on board the same train!

    :-)

  3. lo says:

    Looks like you guys had a seriously awesome time painting those buses!… so great to visit the places where our food comes from — and (even better) meet the people who help to get it to us.

    I’ll listen to your ranting and raving any old time. You’re absolutely right!

  4. CoconutGal says:

    Wo ho! Cheers for organic, nutritious, delicious, local yumminess! You are preaching to the choir on this one miss Melissa.
    Hope you’re having a fantastic summer!! xoxo

  5. Pete says:

    Hey Melissa,

    Great post! Love the way you touch on food, health, climate change without being too heavy handed or making your fruit box too tall, but still getting the message across!

    Cheers, Pete

  6. greedydave says:

    Melissa,

    Sensational post! It’s so good to see what you’ve been advocating for so long. And you’re 100% right, there’s no way you can look at those beaming faces without getting a fillip of your own. You guys have got it very good indeed!

    GDave

  7. Melissa says:

    Lo,

    Thanks for the comments. I knew I could count on you as a fellow ranter!

    :-)

    How’s the duck deboning going? Loved your profile regarding the Julie/Julia thing! Good for you guys!

  8. Melissa says:

    Coco,

    I’ve missed you! Hope you’re having a good summer and thanks for stopping by!

  9. Melissa says:

    Pete,

    I appreciate your “take” on my political “ranting.” I’m so interested in the whole food politics thing, but also don’t want to be annoying (not too much, anyway).

    Hope all is well with you and that you’re racing your way through summer (literally)!

  10. Melissa says:

    GDave,

    Hey, very good point. I really didn’t think of the fact that my UK friends might enjoy an “up close and personal” look at farming and food production in Colorado. Thanks! I REALLY appreciate your comment. And yes, it sometimes takes an outsider’s look at things for us to realize how good we actually have it. And this farm is close by — we’re lucky, indeed! Nothing like having fresh lettuce a day or so after it’s harvested.

    Again, thanks for your insight! And you’re also right in your word choice — beaming faces is perfect.

    :-)

  11. Miles says:

    Melissa,
    That’s a really nice post. I’ve long been intrigued by your CSA boxes.
    Now I know!

    Miles

  12. Kay says:

    Hey Melissa!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, even though I’ve been MIA most of the summer. I just took some photos for a post on beans. I’ll get to it when it rains. Ha!

    Your CSA looks a lot like my back yard and kitchen. I’d love to have a groovy bus! I’m eating VERY well just now!

    I love my chickens so much that I’ve decided to get a few more, about 50 or so. So I’ve been in construction mode for the last few weeks. I’m anxious to get all the stumps and brush cleared so I can start building. The digging/sawing/chopping part of the job is grueling.

    Instead of selling produce at a farmers market this year, I decided to give it away. So I’ve been sharing with the bowlers and the Chatterboxers. Several are urbanites who (sadly) have no dirt of their own. Wish you lived in my neighborhood!

    Glad to hear you’re getting compost worms! Don’t expect instant gratification. The worms I got in Feb. have been slowly turning my kitchen scraps into castings. I used a little to give the strawberries a boost. I’ll have a big batch for fall application, and more by next spring.

    Enjoy your abundance!

    Kay

  13. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, we are indeed lucky to have this wonderful farm fresh food delivered each week. Today’s my pick-up day. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this week!

  14. Melissa says:

    Kay,

    I wish I could come and visit Leaning Tree Farm! You’re doing such incredible things. You’re an inspiration to me! I don’t have much room in my yard and chickens wouldn’t be a good idea as I have a 130 pound dog who fancies himself as the great squirrel hunter, but I can at least live vicariously through you! Keep up the good work — can’t wait to see your new flock.

  15. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    Something tells me we should have a van like that when we do our global culinary road tour :)

    I once travelled on the same vessel as a reporter who sent in daily news via radio…. with today’s electronic gadgetry we could probably pod cast (sounds a lot like invasion of the body snatchers but I doubt they’ll want mine so we’re safe :) )

    Here’s to fresh, organic, scrumptious fruit and veg and all who grow them.

    Cid

  16. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    I think you’re right, painted with a multi-regional theme (UK, Japanese, American West, German, French and so on). That will go with our global traveling plate tour.

    You need to write a book, Cid. “I once travelled on the same vessel as a reporter…” Call it Cid’s Magical Mystery Tour.

    Hope your kitchen is coming around. Can’t wait to see it.

    :-)

  17. Sheila says:

    Thank you for featuring the awesome, hardworking folks at Grant Farms that harvest and pack the CSA boxes. They truly are the heart and soul of the farm!

  18. Melissa says:

    Sheila,

    I agree — it’s that way with everything in life. The “backup band” is just as important as the star players. It’s all about working together to make things happen. I had a blast meeting and enjoying the behind the scenes folks who make opening my basket each Monday night such a treat!

    Thanks to all of you!

  19. Those were some great pics and opinions offered. Your health food “support staff” looks like a wonderful group of folks. :-) 26 weeks is a long time period for a CSA I think, although I know it’s never quite long enough for you.

    BTW, I have one of those clunkers, too, and I’m quite happy with it … I’ve done the math on replacing it and the logic is not there–at least in my case.

    Shirley

  20. [...] do you know where your dinner came from? gf peach pecan mesquite muffins » whimsical peach [...]

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