New Local Food Page

Here are some new ideas.  Let’s grow our own food or buy it locally, preferably from small farmers and artisans, join a food cooperative, bake our own bread, learn how to cook without a half pound of meat per person, use a lot of fresh vegetables, make our own yogurt, cheese, pickles, jam, use lots of seasonings, often with ethnic origins, to make freshly prepared simple food delicious.

Oh whoops.  Those aren’t new.  That was my experience in the 1970s as a graduate student in Wisconsin.  We called it “pure food” or “natural food” then (the idea of “organic” was just getting wound up).  I read “Diet for a Small Planet,” spent some time volunteering with a group of people who formed a food coop (they drove a rickety truck to Chicago once a week to buy actual fresh vegetables, and got bottled milk from a local dairy), started a vegetable garden in a vacant lot behind my apartment, traveled to a small rural grocery to buy local cheese and meat, patronized farm stands whenever I could find them (Madison didn’t start a farmers’ market until about 1976), baked the bread, made the yogurt, the whole thing.  It felt real.  It felt organic in the classical sense.  We ate well on not much money.

So I was delighted to learn that all this was starting up again here in Ann Arbor.  Some will say it never quite went away, but it has a new lease on life with a new generation (and with the help of the previous ones; Al Connor, who helped start the People’s Food Coop in Ann Arbor, is still working on food policy).  I did some looking around in 2007 and wrote an article on the subject for the Ann Arbor Observer, “Meet the Locavores“.  Since then the Ann Arbor local food universe has expanded mightily.

I’ve revised and updated the page I have maintained on this subject, and The Local Food Page has a few useful links.  I’ll try to make it more comprehensive in the future.

Meanwhile, note that the Local Food Summit is on April 2 this year.  Better sign up if you plan to go.

Explore posts in the same categories: Local Food, Sustainability, Trends

8 Comments on “New Local Food Page”

  1. Kathy Boris Says:

    There is something magic about making your own yogurt. Here’s a recipe courtesy of the New York Times. Also, no plastic tubs to recycle.

  2. varmentrout Says:

    Thanks, Kathy! Great article. I agree with the author that using whole milk makes the best yogurt and I’ll go one step further and recommend Calder’s non-homogenized “Creamline” milk, at least for making ricotta where separation is not a concern. (I’ve made more ricotta than yogurt in recent years.) Another yogurt hint is that draining the whey (use cheesecloth or even coffee filters) will make something more like “Greek” yogurt.

    Here is another recipe with steps from our local food writer, Kim Bayer:

  3. TeacherPatti Says:

    I hope to see you at the Summit! I will be there all day, helping coordinate volunteers 🙂

    • varmentrout Says:

      Hi, Patti. Looks as though I won’t make it, but I’ll be applauding from a distance.

  4. Kathy Boris Says:

    The farmersmarketer site is new to me. Thanks, Vivienne. kb

  5. rork Says:

    Just found your site today. I came to Ann Arbor in the 70’s as a student, and “diet for a small planet” was hot here too. I still try to feed myself as much as possible with 1) wild things (and for me that is pretty many things: plants, nuts, berries, fungi, fish, birds, mammals), 2) things I can grow (spinach,broccoli, peas for now, the bean, squash, and everything overwhelm is set to begin), 3) things I can trade for with my friends (ducks, eggs, chickens, turkeys, lamb, rabbits), 4) things from the local farmers. I don’t have to worry about whether the meat I buy is this or that – cause I don’t buy any.

    I miss the old days when Tofu factory was right next to farmer’s market, and everyone but newbies brought their own containers. I didn’t make my own.

  6. Jen Oglow Says:

    Organic food are really the best. I believe it must be practiced to keep our bodies nourished and enriched with natural vitamins and minerals.

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