The realization that food from distant places can lose nutritional value while requiring additional fossil fuels for transport — to say nothing of leaving local farmers out of the loop — is helping make “local” the new “organic” for many conscientious eaters.
Demand for local food is growing and has been named a leading trend for 2007 by Time magazine. As with organic before it, one of the big problems for consumers is “How do I know?”
Starting in 2006, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (headquartered right here in Asheville) has sponsored “Appalachian Grown,” a label displayed on food grown in WNC and the surrounding mountains by family farms. Since the program was launched, nearly 100 farms have become Appalachian Grown certified. On top of that, nearly 20 businesses, including local grocery stores, food cooperatives and restaurants, have agreed to participate in the Appalachian Grown program and use the logo to promote farm products from certified farms.
ASAP encourages consumers to look for the logo at area grocers and restaurants. As the organizations’ bumper stickers proclaim, local food is “thousands of miles fresher.”
For further reading: Novelist and Appalachian resident Barbara Kingsolver discusses the Appalachian Grown program’s effect on farmers and shoppers in her community in the May/June issue of Mother Jones magazine.
And for more on ASAP, visit the organization’s Web site or contact Kate at 236-1282.
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer