Fresh & Local
The First Six Months
Column #26, Published Mar 19th, 2012
There is currently a food revolution going on. Locally grown food is making permanent inroads into the food we eat, and the way we think about food.
I number these columns as I submit them. It helps me keep track of them. This one is #26, which means I’ve been writing this column for six months. It’s odd, but it doesn’t seem that long.
This all started about a year ago. The Star-Exponent ran an article last April from the Associated Press titled “Locally grown?” That article largely dismissed locally grown food as a marketing scam. Being a local produce grower, the article really irritated me and I felt I had to reply.
I wrote a rather lengthy rebuttal, and despite being almost 1,000 words, the Star-Exponent ran the entire piece. As I said in my rebuttal, “I do agree that there are a lot of people misusing the words ‘locally grown’ to cash in on what the article called ‘the latest big thing.’ But I feel the need to balance that article with a reminder that there are a large and growing number of legitimate local food producers, and locally grown food does have some real benefits.”
That AP article convinced me that there were stories that were not being covered. There is a food revolution going on, and locally grown food is making permanent inroads into the food we eat, and the way we think about food. The problem is that many people are not aware of what is happening.
So last September, I pitched the idea of a weekly column about locally grown food to Community Editor Jeff Say. Much to my amazement, he approved the idea.
I started what I call my “idea board” in my office where I list all the possible subject areas and topics. Every time I either think of a topic, or someone suggests one, it goes on the board. At any one time, I usually have several columns started. Each week the big decision is always which one to finish.
I have a limit of 600 words each week. It is much easier to write when you can ramble. It is far more difficult to be brief. There are many weeks that I spend more time trimming to get down to 600 words than I spend writing the draft. I have learned that you can’t waste words. James J. Kilpatrick used to say that a well written sentence has the “good crack of a .22.” I now understand what he meant.
My favorite column was one from last October about the changing attitudes in the U.S. toward food. It is titled “Good Food, Good Friends, Good Wine,” and it is still out on the Star-Exponent web site. Just enter the title in the search box.
How long will I continue to write this column? I’ll quit when I can’t think of anything new to write about, and so far, that is not close to happening. In the last month or so, the Department of Agriculture is sending inspectors into public schools to confiscate children’s lunches. The same Department of Agriculture is allowing “pink slime” in meat that is being sent to schools. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is saying some frightening things about the need for government intervention to combat what she calls “food deserts.” And that’s just the last month.
This would be a good time to say thanks to my editor Jeff Say, and all my faithful readers who have encouraged me. Bon appetit!
Bryant Osborn and his wife Terry own Corvallis Farms in Culpeper County. His column on fresh and locally grown food runs every Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org