Local and Sustainable Food: The Sixth Perspective of a Bioregional Lifestyle

This post is the sixth in a series exploring ten principles of bioregional living and spotlighting Cascadians who embody each principle.

“Supporting sustainable and humane farming, promoting access to healthy, low impact, local, seasonal and organic diets and reducing food waste.”

From One Living Planet

Do you know where your food comes from?

Usually when we ask ourselves this question, we picture a happy farmer, with happy animals, and beautiful pastures. We assume our food goes from farm, to plate.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most of our foods, even whole foods, travel thousands of miles before it travels the short distance from fork to mouth. Your tomatoes get more vacation time than you do…

Why is this important for bioregionalism?

Along with the food that is flown, driven, and hauled in brings with it a host of issues. Local and sustainable food is fundamental for our health, and the health of the Cascadia Bioregion.

Transporting food long distances requires an exasperating amount of energy for handling, manufacturing, storage, and the shipmen.

Upwards of 300 million barrels of oil are wasted in the production food. In addition to this, much of the food that is shipped long distances is wasted due to overproduction and food spoiling.

Our own health is also on the chopping block from lack of local food production. The storage process of foods requires using harmful chemicals to ripen food, or force it to last longer. On top of being laden with chemicals, our foods become void of nutrients.

By failing to implement local food systems, we also fail to keep money circulating within our own communities. As a result, nearly four million farms in the United States since the 1930s have gone under. Farms should be our primary source of our food, in order to consume high quality, low impact diets that reduce food waste.

Successful local food systems provide numerous jobs within our bioregion as well, which offsets the price of local food goods.  

Interview with Skinny Kitty Farms, Cascadia

    We were lucky enough to speak with Bonnie Briggs and David Mackie, proud owners of Skinny Kitty Farms in Mount Vernon, WA. They began their farm as a response to the industrialized food system.

At Skinny Kitty Farms, the goal is to provide clean, healthy, sustainable, and humane food, and their business model reflects the need for flexibility to achieve that outcome.

    Although not certified organic, the farm does choose to implement organic methods. “We practice organic techniques because it’s the sustainable way to move forward for us in our location. We then chose to buy grains and hay from farms that have the same idea,” Briggs and Mackie said.

    Sustainable living and food production is of utmost importance at Skinny Kitty Farms. We asked Briggs and Mackie what they would say to others about why they should care as well. “Someday, people’s lives will be affected by agricultural shortages and collapse of Ecosystems. That may be a long-ways off, but the whole of agriculture is a mighty large enterprise to turn around. So the sooner anyone and everyone start focusing on the sustainability of their diet, the faster we can make that turn” they said.

 From Skinny Kitty Farm Facebook From Skinny Kitty Farm Facebook

Visit the Skinny Kitty Farms website and Facebook.

Stay tuned for the seventh principle of bioregional living, Sustainable Materials by Mariah Edwards-Heflin.

Mariah is studying Communications at Seattle University. Her passion is helping others understand how to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. She also competes in bodybuilding and powerlifting. She also enjoys reading and meditation on rainy days, and hiking and gardening when the weather permits. Mariah looks forward to learning more about Cascadia and teaching others along the way.

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