C-U Food Cooperative Encourages Eating Local

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Food is at the heart of almost everything we do. It’s woven
into the fabric of our everyday lives. Our decisions about
what we eat for dinner impacts the political, environmental,
health, and fiscal picture of our global and our local
landscape. With all eyes on the issues of global warming
and poverty, the Common Ground Food Co-op encourages
anyone who is invested in our community to consider
a few reasons to get your food locally.
What we eat is political. Taking a vested interest in
knowing where your food comes from and how it was produced
is a political act. Here’s a thought from the online
community, “100-Mile Diet—Local Eating for Global
Change”: a typical ingredient in a modern meal has travelled
1,500 miles or more from farm to place. Food doesn’t
carry itself all those miles. Trucks, airplanes, and freighters
are carrying that food from producer to grocery to table, at
the expense of the environment.
According to FamilyFarmed.org, a program of Chicagobased
Sustain that encourages organic farming and new marketing
and business opportunities by connecting local farmers
with buyers, growing more food locally also reduces the
need for long distance trucking and minimizes the emissions
of pollutants that dirty the air and cause global warming.
The Soil Association, an organic standards agency in
the United Kingdom, estimates that air freight is the
fastest-growing form of food transport, and has the highest
climate-change impact per mile. Their recent report states
that while air freight accounts for less than 1% of the distance
food travels to reach U.K. consumers, it is responsible
for 11% of food-transport carbon emissions. (see summary
online at http://100milediet.org/category/the-latest/)
Eating locally is thinking globally. Supporting local
food is a vote for a just and sustainable food system. It is a
stone in the eye of Goliaths like Monsato Corporation,
with their genetically modified agriculture.
What you eat effects how food is grown around the
world, which effects justice for farm workers. According to
a July 2006 article on bilaterals.org, tariffs protecting beans
and corn, including the white corn Mexicans use for tortillas,
are to end in January 2008. That will expose Mexican
corn farmers — two-thirds of whom subsist on 12 acres or
fewer and 90 percent of whom lack irrigation — to competition
with U.S. farmers who are so highly mechanized they
can produce a metric ton of corn with a half-hour’s labor,
according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And the effects are not just on the workers, but on our
environment because the growing process affects soil sustainability
and bio-diversity
Financially, we know it can be difficult to afford organic
or even local food. But consider the positive effects on our
own community when you make that choice. For every
$100 you spend locally, at Common Ground, the Urbana
farmers’ market, or directly from local farms, $45 is
retained in the local community. When you spend the
same amount at a chain supermarket, a grand total of $13
stays in our community. What a loss.
By supporting local food, we ensure that our community
remains financially independent of corporations, that
farming remains a viable option for current and future
community members, and that our community remains
unique.
Does it sound difficult to eat only food that is grown
within 100 miles of your home? Common Ground has
already done a lot of the research for you.
In 2006, Common Ground bought more than $53,000
worth of food and products from local farms and producers
making up 13% of total purchases. With our community
and your health in mind, our goal is to raise this number
to over 16% of our total purchases in 2007.
Common Ground currently purchases from more than
two dozen local produce growers, farms, bread bakers,
body care product producers, prepared food producers,
apiaries, and artisans. We are constantly adding more and
looking for more.
Jon Cherniss, owner of Blue Moon Farms, a certified
organic vegetable farm in Urbana, is proud to be one of
those producers, “I know how important a role Common
Ground plays in local food, and I love being a part of it
because of what it stands for—local, organic, sustainable
food.”
We can help you to make a good decision for our environment
and our community. Visit Common Ground at
the corner of Springfield and Wright in the Illinois Disciples
Foundation, or call 352-3347.

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