Archive for January 4th, 2010

Division Street Farmers' Market
Image by ifmuth via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

First it was Eat Organic. Now it’s Eat Local. What is Eating Locally and why is it such a  good idea?

What Does it Mean to Eat Locally Grown Foods?

Active.com’s Charles Stuart Platkin explains what Locally grown means in an article here. Platkin writes: According to Erin Barnett, director of LocalHarvest.org, “‘Eating local’ means different things to different people, depending on how ‘local’ is defined.” Some define locally grown as within a 100-mile radius of where they live. But the overarching concept is that you purchase and eat foods produced close to home. “You might be able to get eggs raised just five miles down the road, but cheese from the state next to yours. Both choices take the food’s geographical origins into account, and that is the decision-making tool at the heart of eating locally grown,” says Barnett.

Why Eat Locally Produced Food?

The main reasons proponents tout locally grown food is that it’s better for the environment, keeps purchasing dollars within a closer proximity of your community and it is fresher and less likely to be sprayed with harmful chemicals.

An article in the NewsOk explains why people choose to buy local:  “It often means getting fresher food,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., senior scientist and policy analyst at the nonprofit Consumers Union. The main reason, Rangan said, is that it hasn’t been trucked thousands of miles so there’s less time for food to spoil.

“But there are even more advantages to local food production. It saves on gasoline and reduces pollution from transporting food (which can help reduce global warming), and, in many cases, it supports smaller-scale farmers,” Rangan said. So, basically, eating locally grown supports the local economy; you eat fresher, less-processed foods, think about your food more, get to know your local growers and help the environment — not bad. (Read entire article, “Eating Locally Can Bring Benefits,” from NewsOK, here.)

According to Jennifer Maiser from FamilyResource.com, “While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer’s market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.”

Jennifer adds: “Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be “rugged” or to stand up to the rigors of shipping. This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.”  Read Maiser’s Top Ten Reasons to Eat Local Food here.

The juries still out on whether locally produced food is better for your health, but as more and more people demand locally grown food, restaurants and stores are moving toward selling locally produced food items.

Winter Farmers Markets in Chicago

from Swedish Covenent Hospital’s Well Magazine

Green City Market Web site
Indoor market – 2430 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago, IL. 60614

Wednesdays and Saturdays until Dec. 23, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesdays and select Saturdays January 16 to April 24, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand Web site
66 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL. 60602
Open year-round, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Please check the Web site or e-mail info@chicagoofficeoftourism.org for a holiday schedule.

Saturdays and Sundays at various churches and organizations throughout Chicago
See localharvest.org/farmers-markets for a detailed schedule.

Indoor market, The Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL. 60647
Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Runs until March 28, 2010
See logansquarefarmersmarket.org for more information.

Farmers Markets in the Chicago Area Suburbs

List from LocalHarvest.org.

Churches’ Center for Land and People (CCLP) is partnering this year with Faith In Place to sponsor indoor Winter Farmers Markets which provide small, local farm producers with additional venues to extend their income beyond the growing season. Held in parish halls of congregations of many denominations, these markets are open to the public and from November to March offer consumers an opportunity to purchase cheese, meat and poultry, soap, syrup, honey, wool, yogurt, raw fibers, vinegars, dried fruits, milled flours, sauces and salsas, preserves, cider, and fresh produce as available…..in short, anything that a farm grows or produces from what they grow. (Not all items listed will be available at every market.)

When and Where


Sun., Jan. 10, 10am to 2pm ~ Deerfield
North Shore Unitarian Church
2100 Half Day Rd. (Rt. 22), Deerfield IL 60015

Sun., Jan. 24, 12noon to 3pm ~ Chicago/Old Irving Park
Irving Park Lutheran Church
3938 W. Belle Plaine Ave., Chicago, IL 60618

Sat., Feb. 13, 9am to 1pm ~ Oak Park
Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church
405 S. Euclid Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302

Sat., Feb. 20, 9am to 1pm ~ Rogers Park
United Church of Rogers Park
1545 W. Morse Ave, Chicago, IL 60626

Sun., Mar. 7, time TBD ~ Oak Park
St. Giles Catholic Parish
1025 Columbian, Oak Park IL 60302

Sun., Mar. 14, 9:30am to 1:30pm ~ Park Ridge
Park Ridge Community Church
100 Courtland Ave., Park Ridge IL 60068

To read more from Local Harvest and view the extensive listing of available crops click here.

If you’d like to be on the email list for LocalHarvest click here.

Fun Facts About Illinois Crops and Farming from ExploreChicago.org

• More than half of the corn in the U.S. is used for livestock feed.

• Illinois chickens lay eggs that are used to make candy bars, mints, and hard candies all year round.

• Popcorn is the official snack of Illinois.

• JoDaviess, Hancock, Fulton, Adams, and Pike counties have more cattle than anywhere else in Illinois.

• One Illinois farmers feeds 94 people in the United States and 35 people overseas-that’s 129 people per year.

Read the entire list of Fun Facts About Illinois Crops and Farming from ExploreChicago.org

Read an article on how Eating Local is the New Eating Organic from Time magazine here.

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