Coalition Report

By Melissa Vatterott,
Food and Farm Coordinator
Coalition For The Environment

Giving Thanks for the Foodshed: Support Local Food, Farmers and Farmland

On Thanksgiving, friends and family gather to give thanks for good fortunes and to celebrate with plentiful food. The first Thanksgiving celebrated the Pilgrims’ first fall harvest. Today, most Thanksgiving celebrations involve football and an abundance of high-carbohydrate, processed dishes that are available year round.

This year, I encourage St. Louisans to give thanks to the hardworking local farmers and ranchers, who provide us with healthy, local food and who take care of our natural resources, by buying local. The local farmers who go without chemical inputs, and instead employ workers to control pests and weeds, are promoting healthy soil, ensuring food safety, providing jobs, and building the local economy. Often, common Thanksgiving treats are made of ingredients from far away places, meaning more of our “food dollars” support corporate farms and food manufacturers, not local producers.

For those who often celebrate with the more conventional dishes, consider modifying your Thanksgiving menu to support local producers who are wrapping up their months-long growing season. Here are ways to show your gratitude for the local harvest:

Purchase a locally-raised turkey. Most require pre-ordering. Find local turkeys at:

  • Buttonwood Farm in California, Missouri.
  • Fresh Pasture Farms in Millstadt, Illinois.
  • Chopping Block Farm, DeSoto, Missouri.
  • Danjo Farms in Moberly, Missouri.
  • Schlafly Farmers Market in Maplewood, where two vendors sell local turkey.
  • The Root Cellar in Columbia, Missouri, which sells Country Neighbors Specialty Meats.

Purchase fresh local ingredients for your holiday favorites including pumpkins, green beans, and cranberries (and make your own sauce – connecting you to your food!). Local Harvest Grocery sells many local products.

If you’re not into baking your own goods, check out one of these bakeries:

  • Black Bear Bakery uses only all-natural ingredients, over 30% of which from local suppliers.
  • Whisk uses local eggs and milk in all baked goods.
  • Red Fox Baking uses local, organic wheat for their breads.
  • Pint Size Bakery uses specific fruits only when they’re in season and local eggs.

Promoting local food systems is one way we can help revitalize rural communities, create jobs, and increase access to healthy foods. Through MCE’s Food and Farm Program, we work to facilitate policies and projects that support the local food system within the St. Louis Regional Foodshed — the 100-mile radius around St. Louis. To learn more about this work, visit www.moenvironment.org/program-areas/food-and-farm-program.

Visit www.moenviron.org to learn more.
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