March 2012 Publisher Letter
Mar 02, 2012 10:08AM
The first job I ever had was working on Rovinski’s farm, with my brothers and the other neighborhood kids. We spent time planting and harvesting various local crops, including tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and cabbage. We also cultivated our own 30-by-30-foot garden in a field behind our garage under the tutelage of our grandmother.
What I realize most now is how I took for granted the texture, taste and availability of those homegrown, fresh, organic vegetables. I remember how enjoyable it was to pluck a tomato from the vine and bite into it like an apple. It wasn’t until years later that I wondered why the tomatoes I bought in the grocery store were nothing like the succulent, juicy tomatoes I grew up eating from our garden.
Today, many of us are participating in a shift toward the consumption of local foods from growers we know and trust. The leading edge of this shift has been spearheaded for the last 21 years by the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), the largest statewide, member-based sustainable farming organization in the United States. Initially aimed at supporting farmers; PASA is not just for farmers anymore. Through consumer-oriented programs such as Buy Fresh, Buy Local and The Good Food Neighborhood, you can learn how to find, choose and appreciate seasonal, local foods, and connect with others looking for healthy and sustainable local food options. Read more about PASA’s efforts.
With spring on the way, we welcome the return of seasonal farmers’ markets, CSAs and fruit and vegetable stands, especially those where you can see the owner slipping into the field next to his/her stand to pick a few more eggplants. Look for and ask about the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” program at your favorite local food suppliers. You’ll find a list to guide you.
How about growing a few vegetables of your own? Did you know that a well-tended 10-by-10-foot plot can keep a family of four in vegetables from late spring through the summer and on into the fall? If you don’t have the space, refer to our article about “Unconventional Gardens.”
Kudos to the team at the Farmer’s Market in Hershey, featured in our Community Spotlight. Danny George and several colleagues at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine recently published an article in the American Journal of Public Health outlining efforts to integrate local farmers’ markets with medical centers in a model that integrates medical screening and wellness education with local food access. Reprints are available at AJPH.org by clicking the Journal/Reprints link.
Finally, congratulations to us, Natural Awakenings of South-Central PA, on our first anniversary issue. It’s hard to believe it’s been one full year since our debut. Time and the pace of change are moving rapidly, and we have much work to do in supporting and educating our readers in ways to feel good, live simply and laugh more. Thank you for your growing support and we look optimistically forward as the journey continues…
Dave Korba, Publisher