Boulder County's EAT LOCAL! Resource Guide & Directory


Why Eat Local?


(Photo by Cure Organic Farm)

Here’s our situation in Boulder County:

Because the way we eat and the way we grow our food is a major contributor to climate change and global warming…

Because food production is so energy-intensive and so dependent on oil for fertilizer, pesticides, planting and harvesting, processing, packaging, and transportation…

Because global oil production likely peaked in July 2008, which will make energy increasingly expensive…

Because therefore food prices will soon increase dramatically, and food shortages will begin to happen—even here—perhaps in the next couple of years…

Because the U.S. is becoming a net food importer…

Because humanity is now consuming more food than we are producing…

Because industrial agriculture—like the globalized economy—is at a crossroads and is about to go into a steep decline…

Because the food that industrial agriculture produces is destroying our national’s health (the Center for Disease Control says that food is the leading cause of death, after tobacco)…

Because the way we grow food is destroying and washing away our precious topsoil…

Because we can no longer conscionably support a food system that causes hunger, starvation, and disease in other parts of the world…

Because the way we eat is destroying our connection with the earth, with the natural processes and cycles of earth and sky, with those who grow our food, with the essence of life…

Because the way we eat has seriously weakened our communities…

Because less than one percent of our current diet is local…

Because we spend billions of dollars on food in Colorado (in 2006, nearly $650 million in Boulder County alone), almost all of which is fleeing outside the county, lost to our local economies…

And because we now know all this…

We must learn everything we can about our food predicament.

We must all learn to grow at least some of our own food.

We must all support the revitalization of local agriculture.

We must end our dependence on fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers, and mechanization in our food production.

We must commit to healing and rebuilding the soil everywhere we can.

We must dramatically increase local food production for local consumption.

We must rebuild the local food infrastructure for processing and distribution.

We must stop the proliferation of Genetically Modified food.

We must stop supporting and consuming non-local food.

We must support local farmers, local producers, local grocers, and local restaurants.

We must learn how to eat seasonally.

We must learn how to preserve and store food.

We must plan how we’re going to build food security in our communities, and plan how we’re going to feed our people when things get tough.

We must be prepared to share what we have to eat.

We must develop new skills and knowledge—composting, vermiculture, permaculture, soil-building, seed-saving, cultivating, canning and preserving, cooking, nutrition planning, herbal medicine.

We must make our foodshed as local as possible.

And we must do all this rather quickly.

If all this sounds like hard work, well, it is!

But what would happen if we did this?

Our health would improve greatly, especially the health of our children.

We’d feel more connected, more alive, more engaged, living more meaningful and more satisfying lives.

We’d be devoted to rebuilding the soil in our farmlands.

Our local farmers would be able to buy the land on which they farm.

We’d transform the landscape.

Our agricultural land would mostly be used for food production for local consumption.

We’d produce thousands of new jobs. Our local economy would be robust!

We’d dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation.

We’d be sequestering carbon in the soil, in plant growth.

We’d reduce the number of cattle and horses being raised here.

We’d have plans and food stores in place to feed all our people in times of crisis or emergency.

We’d all have a far greater degree of food security and food sovereignty; major corporations would no longer be in control of what and how we eat.

Our foodshed would be resilient and self-reliant.

This would be a revolution!

Actually, the revolution is already underway, as many citizens across the county are quietly beginning to completely rebuild our local foodshed—from multiplying backyard and frontyard gardens, to raising chickens and keeping bees, to committing to only buying food that is local and organic, to demanding that our supermarkets stop importing food we could produce here ourselves, to converting our local agricultural lands to growing food for local consumption, to rebuilding local food storage and distribution systems, to encouraging young people to learn farming as a wise and essential—and sustainable—career choice.

Already a rapidly-growing list of chefs and restaurants are serving locally grown food, and some are even operating big gardens or small farms. At the same time, Boulder County school lunchrooms are being transformed with the introduction of wholesome local food.

Together we are learning that not only can all this greatly reduce the amount of fossil fuels embedded in today’s food from fertilizer, pesticides and transport, but adopting a more local organic diet will greatly contribute to our health, and our children’s health. It will also reconnect us with those who grow our food, with the land that supports and nurtures us, with the seasons, and with the natural processes and cycles that are fundamental to all life. In the process, we’ll rediscover what community really means. And for most of us, that will be an unexpected and inspiring revelation.

Along the way we’re likely to discover qualities of sustainability that can’t be measured, but which we know in our hearts are essential to humanness—qualities and experiences that have been lost to our communities for a long time.

So, yes, it’s the beginning of a revolution. And we need you to join us. That’s what the EAT LOCAL! Campaign, now in its fourth year, is all about. This second edition of Boulder County’s EAT LOCAL! Resource Guide is a comprehensive directory of all the local food resources we’ve been able to find, as well as a kind of manifesto for the EAT LOCAL! Campaign itself. It’s also a celebratory feast in itself, a celebration of local!

Bon appétit!

Signed, Michael Brownlee

Michael Brownlee, Editor and Publisher

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