“Ingredients” Screening and Panel Open Eyes to Importance of Local Foods
By Sydney Smith
Area citizens learned about the importance of choosing locally produced foods on October 25 at a local screening of the documentary film “Ingredients” at the Center for the Environment facility on the Catawba College campus.
The Center for the Environment and Bread Riot, a Rowan County group that advocates support of local food producers, co-sponsored the presentation.
Bread Riot offered an array of local foods to sample before the
film. Samplings included bread, multiple flavors of goat cheese, salad, sausage,
cookies, pesto, pumpkin soup and smoothies. All ingredients were completely
natural and all locally produced. Also, the cups, utensils and plates used for
serving were made from recycled plant materials, like corn.
The documentary highlighted farmers whose produce is intended for the local market. It noted that farming is a profession that is no longer recognized on the census as an occupation.
“Ingredients” stated that the United States spends less on food products and more on medications than any other nation, suggesting that the country’s addiction to cheap, quick meal options is hurting people more than helping them. The film said that buying food from local producers removes questions about how the food is produced because local residents can visit the farms and see for themselves. Also, because local producers tend to work on a smaller scale, there are far fewer safety hazards involved for the consumers.
also outlined challenges to local food production. For example, some of the
producers on the film mentioned that buildings and development projects take
over more and more farmland every year, reducing space for crop planting and
animal raising. Also, because locally grown foods tend to cost a bit more than
mass-produced foods, people often prefer the cheaper options.
Some programs currently operate to get healthier, locally produced goods to people who don’t have easy access to a local farmer’s market. Through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), people can pay farmers directly. In return, the people get baskets of local goods from the farms on a regular basis. This method removes any middle man, and the producers get the full payment for their goods and services.
Capri Bixey from Bread Riot gives information on winter harvest program
After the film, a panel of speakers discussed the topic. The panelists included Dr. Christopher Nagy, orthopaedic surgeon with Salisbury Orthopaedic Association and director of Your Personal Wellness Center; Dr. Dane K. Fisher, owner of Fisher Farms and Pfeiffer University professor of biology whose specialty area is plant breeding and plant genetics; Dr. Jennifer Hudson, pediatrician with Salisbury Pediatrics; and Heather Hopkins-Teeter, owner and operator of Sweet Meadow Café, which offers fresh and local vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free foods.
The panel experts agreed – eating smart foods, like local produce, is a great way to combat an array of sicknesses and diseases that are plaguing younger people every year. Nagy mentioned that the first heart attack reported was in 1922, which surprised many guests. Many health issues, like heart conditions caused by diet, didn’t begin to surface until people started opting for cheaper, faster, more convenient food options.
Heather Teeter-Hopkins, Sweet Meadow Café, serves freshly made pumpkin soup.
The panelists encouraged experimenting with cooking new foods. They suggested visiting
the Internet for new recipes and cooking instructions for unfamiliar fruits and
vegetables. Preparing new types of foods encourages healthier eating, they said.
The panel agreed with many points made by the film, especially the fact that cooking natural foods at home eliminates a lot of the unhealthy mysteries contained in many fast foods and quick-options found in grocery stories. The audience was encouraged to eat more like our great grandparents -- from the earth, rather than the drive-through restaurant.
Bread Riot, which supports local and sustainable agriculture, a respect of the environment, earth-friendly producers, low-impact lifestyles and wise food choices, serves Rowan County. The group works with local farms and growers, encouraging the purchase of local produce. Bread Riot also works with the Center for the Environment and other community groups to hold special educational lectures and programs concerning local foods. It is located at 1622 N. Main Street in Salisbury. For more, visit www.breadriot.org.