Posts tagged ‘local’

Earth to Table

BLOG-Liz_Karabinakis

What does it mean to practice “Earth to Table” ways of eating? Does choosing local even matter that much when deciding what food to purchase? Well… yes. Eating locally is a great way to experience an earth to table, sustainable, and healthy way of eating. Although there is no universal definition of “local eating”, most people take this to mean within the state they reside.

But why eat local?

Choosing food grown at local farms means the freshness will be much better when compared to food that has traveled for days or weeks across the country. You will also be taking steps to decrease your carbon footprint because much less fossil fuels are used for food transport when you are eating within your state limits.

Eating locally, eating seasonally.

Committing yourself to eating locally means you will be eating seasonally as well. Although your grocery store sells all produce throughout the entire year, local farmers can only grow what is in season. Deciding to buy from local producers gives you a great opportunity to learn new recipes for making meals with all of the seasonal produce!

What resources are available in Madison?

The Dane County Farmers’ Market is the largest producer-only farmers market in the country! The outdoor market has finally returned for the summer and offers products from dozens of farmers and businesses in Wisconsin. Spend your Saturday mornings at the Capitol Square or Wednesday mornings around the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd to pick up some of your favorite items.

Willy Street Co-op also specializes in organic, natural, and locally produced foods. Whether you are searching for organic, vegan, or natural products, Willy Street likely has the product for you! This full-functioning grocery store offers great products every day of the week for those unable to attend the farmers markets.

If growing your own food is something that interests you, check out any of the 60 Community Gardens throughout the Dane County area. Learn how to become more self-sufficient and be empowered by growing safe, healthy food for yourself and your family.

For more resources check out:

http://dcfm.org/

http://www.willystreet.coop/

http://danecountycommunitygardens.org/

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

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April 29, 2015 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

Small Business Saturday

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It’s that time of year again. Holiday season is upon us! But while you’re looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones, are you considering where your money is going?

According to UC-San Diego, buying from locally owned stores not only reduces carbon emissions but can benefit the local economy as well. When you spend $100 at a chain store, only $43 goes back into the local community. However, if you spend the same amount at a local store, $68 stays in the community. This means more money is going to people in your neighborhood rather than chains across the country. Other studies have shown that the money spent at local stores is more likely to be spent at other local businesses, which helps to strengthen the economic base of the community. Local businesses are also more likely to hire local residents and support other local businesses as well.

Buying local is also more sustainable and can lower your carbon footprint. Many local stores have products that were made or grown locally, meaning that less fuel was used to bring that product to the store. Many chain stores ship their inventory from large warehouses across the country, which can use large amounts of fuel and release many harmful emissions. Products found in chain stores are typically made in bulk and the creation process can produce a lot of excess material and waste. In addition, typically local stores are more centrally located in a community than chain stores since they usually require less space. This makes it easier to walk or ride your bike to the store, further cutting down your carbon footprint.

Supporting local businesses also keeps the community unique. Where we shop, eat, and spend our free time helps to make our community our home. Frequenting a local business allows you to meet and establish a relationship with the owner and employees. This can lead to better service and assurance of quality products since we are more likely to help those we have relationships with. Local businesses also help create a distinct character in the community and can attract tourists that will help strengthen the local economy as well.

Local businesses are important for keeping our community unique and economically strong. Support your community this holiday season by buying local. Instead of participating in Black Friday shopping this year, participate in Small Business Saturday! For a list of local Madison businesses, go here.

Image: www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

November 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

10 Fall Activities to Enjoy Before Winter

fall colors 101709 5

Fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy the colors and beauty of Wisconsin.  Before those cold winter months arrive, check out these fall activities with your family and friends!

  1. Go to an apple orchard. Fall is the best time to head over to an orchard for some fresh fruit! Apple picking is a fun activity for the whole family and supports local farms and orchards.  Plus, you can take home baskets full of fresh, healthy fruit!  The Cooking Mom has some great apple recipes to make the most out of your haul.
  2. Go on a hike. Wisconsin has over 2,500 miles of beautiful trails to explore!  Travel Wisconsin has a great list of trails all over the state, from lake shores and forests to prairies.  Looking to stay local?  Head over to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve near UW-Madison for a great view of Lake Mendota.  The UW-Madison Arboretum is also full of gorgeous colors during the fall and has numerous trails for your family to explore.
  3. Make some fall crafts. Stock up on fall leaves, acorns, and other trinkets while you’re on a hike so you can spend those colder fall days indoors making fun crafts with your kids.  Check out our Pinterest page for some ideas!
  4. Go on a bike ride. The League of American Bicyclists has repeatedly ranked Wisconsin as one of the top bicycling destinations in the nation.  Its numerous bike trails are perfect for a sunny fall afternoon with some family or friends.  Get outside and enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin while getting exercise as well!
  5. Visit your local zoo. Fall is a great time to take one last visit to your local zoo before the cold weather settles in.  The cooler fall temperatures are perfect for most animals to be outside and easily viewable for visitors, and the fall leaves will add a little more color to your trip.
  6. Visit a farmer’s market. Support local farmers by purchasing locally grown fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and other products at a farmer’s market.  The Dane County Farmer’s Market occurs every Saturday morning from 6:00 am until 2:00 pm around The Wisconsin State Capitol Square.  After November 8th, the market will move indoors to Monona Terrace.
  7. Play football. We’re in the heart of football season!  Grab your family and friends and head outside for a friendly game of football.  It’s a great way to get exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with those you love.
  8. Go horseback riding. Fall is the perfect time for horseback riding because the trails are full of color and the temperature is perfect for wearing pants and boots.  Many farms and ranches have kid-friendly options and will teach you everything you need to know for a great experience.  Check out Travel Wisconsin for a list of horseback riding locations.
  9. Take some friends and family on a hayride. Madison Parks offers special event hayrides in November for $2 a person. The hay wagon will take you on a scenic tour of one of Madison’s parks and will even include a view of the holiday lights in November.  For more information, head over to the Madison Parks website.
  10. Spend a night under the stars. Grab some friends, a blanket, some pillows, and snacks and find an open spot in your backyard for some stargazing.  It’s a great way to spend quality time with your friends while viewing constellations that are only viewable in the fall.

What other fun activities do you like to do in the fall? Leave a comment below!

Image: mywisconsin.blogspot.com

October 29, 2014 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

Think Local First

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When shopping for household needs, food, clothing, etc. consider buying from a local, Wisconsin, Dane County, or City of Madison vendor, first.

Primarily, buying local keeps more of your money in the community.  When you buy something from a local store or artisan, they are then more likely to reinvest their money in the community which can lead to further growth of other local business.  This can eventually, hopefully, perpetuate the cycle of primarily buying and selling locally within your community.

Furthermore, buying local can reduce the environmental impact of your purchases as far as transportation and manufacturing costs.  There is arguably a slightly higher chance that the goods you purchase locally were made or constructed with local, unique materials.  Thus, local goods travel less miles than goods purchased online from out-of-state or overseas.

Lastly, by making the choice to keep your hard-earned money within the community, you encourage others to do the same.  Lead by example and spread the word about all of the awesome local vendors you’ve heard of or had experience with.

Watch this video by Dane Buy Local for an illustration of how buying local can keep our community vital, and next time you go shopping, think local first.

May 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Critter Cravings

According to the national ASPCA, approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year.  This number doesn’t even include the wildlife that shelters like the Dane County Humane Society take in each year.  All of these animals require a lot of TLC (tender loving care) to get healthy enough to hopefully get adopted or released back into the wild.  In addition to a substantial need for people to adopt animals or donate funds, Dane County Humane Society also needs many supplies in order to provide the best care possible to the animals that come through their facilities.  This is where you come in.

The Dane County Humane Society has a regularly updated wishlist of items available on their website:  https://www.giveshelter.org/wish-list.html.  Consider organizing a shelter supply drive at your local community center, school, office, etc. or perhaps next time you are at the grocery store or pet store, consider picking up some ‘Doggies Delights’, ‘Feline Fancies’, or ‘Wildlife Wants’ as included in the list.  Through your donation, you will be supporting the Dane County Humane Society in making big changes in the lives of the animals they care for.  For more information about the Dane County Humane Society, visit their website:  https://www.giveshelter.org/.

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image: http://www.wortfm.org/dane-county-humane-society/

April 16, 2014 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

Madison-based Business Leading the Way

ImagePhoto by M.P. King- State Journal

The Madison-based headquarters for American Family Insurance is set to become the first major private employer in Dane County to routinely divert food-related waste from the landfill.  Very soon their food-prep scraps and used paper towels will be composted offsite. 

Maggie Layden was an intern with the company last year when she came up with the idea.  She was hired permanently in January and now leads the composting program.  This change is part of the company’s “zero-waste initiative” which features other sustainability goals established earlier this year.

For now, American Family Insurance’s housekeeping vendor will be responsible for moving the organic waste from the kitchen to the compactor.  Eventually employees will be asked to participate in a more hands-on way by adding their food scraps to separate collection containers within the café area as well. 

American Family estimates they will generate around 40 to 50 pounds of food waste, along with 80 to 100 pounds in paper towels each week.  This is on the low end compared to some other local businesses also participating in the pilot program.

While establishing programs for businesses, the City of Madison has also been working on a pilot program for curbside collection of organic waste for residential areas.  These projects are being led by George Dreckmann, the city’s recycling coordinator.  His goal is to take the organics recycling pilot program citywide to all businesses and residents by 2016. 

Read more: http://host.madison.com/business/american-family-insurance-leading-way-in-local-private-sector-on/article_f95842cf-02cf-5964-a3fa-ae11ae6c7520.html#ixzz2c4Tcluvl

August 16, 2013 at 9:03 am Leave a comment

How Local is Your Fridge?

“What percentage of the food in your fridge is locally grown?” asked Kay Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm.

The question was a simple one but one that all the attendees at the EnAct CSA event had to think about deeply. I personally had no idea. I liked to think of myself as a local food supporter, but did I really had a handle on exactly how I was supporting them? Numbers between 30 and 50% popped up as answers.

The next questions was “What percentage of locally grown food do you want in your fridge?”

Now that was one to think about.

The benefits of getting involved in CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture are numerous, but above all you are showing support for local farmers. It is a way to reconnect with your food, to interact with those producing it, and to learn about the variety of produce out there that isn’t the usual grocery store line-up.  It is a chance to renew the relationship between farmer and consumer.  One touching story shared last night told about a CSA member’s young son, who states regularly that their CSA farmer “grew this food for him”. The interaction is an excellent way to teach children hands on about food and nutrition. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that many health insurance companies offer rebates for subscribers due to the many health benefits of eating farm fresh vegetables.

Kay Jensen shares a CSA box with attendees

Of course with anything new, becoming a CSA subscriber takes some time and energy to adjust. Eating locally takes extra time and planning ahead, says MACSAC, or Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, volunteer Angie Fuhrken.  When she first signed on, she was a bit nervous after receiving a box full of vegetables she barely recognized. There are of course the usual favorites, but a lot of times the CSA box contains new items. After researching places to get recipes based on ingredient and with the help of MACSAC’s cookbook, she quickly adapted and now has a bigger variety of dishes to share with her family. With a little extra energy, you can adjust and figure out a system that works for you.  She also shares her CSA with a neighbor, helping to reduce waste. One week the box is picked up by her, and the next week, the neighbor.  Both Kay and Angie made other suggestions such as choosing a farm with a convenient pick-up location for you, making a plan ahead of time if you are sharing with someone, and to be patient in the transition period while learning how to use all of your new vegetables.

A typical 'winter' CSA box. The winter spinach has a sugary sweetness to it.

So what percentage  of local food do you want in your fridge? Is it there now? Do you have a plan to get it there? When considering all of your options, make sure to include CSA.

For more information on CSA, visit http://www.macsac.org.

Thank you to all who came out to the event last night and to Kay and Angie for giving us their time.

Angie Fuhrken of MACSAC and Kay Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm

~EnAct Intern Kayla Baake

February 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

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