Are “Food Clubs” the new answer?

A few weeks ago, when I sort of snapped under the most recent deluge of food horror stories in the media (see last weeks’ posts Call Me Overzealous, How Organic is Organic Enough? and Who’s Paranoid NOW?), it finally hit me that I needed to think about food shopping differently.
I recently began a quest (I love the image that word conjures!) to skip the grocer and even the greenmarkets and start going directly to the farmer to look for solutions. (Please don’t get me wrong, I LOVE greenmarkets and for the most part they’re where I’ve always bought groceries whenever I’ve had the chance. And if you know of some that you love and trust, by all means keep patronizing them as they help keep the smaller farms alive! But they are sporadic and seasonal, plus there are certain items, such as raw milk, that even the greenmarkets don’t carry. And then there’s the whole “quest” to view the source thing).
I began asking people (only half-jokingly) if they wanted to go “in” on an order of beef and raw milk with me, the way we used to buy other harder to find substances back in college (smile).
As I posted about earlier, one of the only farms I found even willing to deliver to NYC needed a minimum order of $750.
OK, maybe that’s not a lot in terms of buying in bulk but my days as everyone’s favorite communal couch are long over and it’s waaaaay more meat than my small Harlem 2 bedroom can contain (or I can spend at once or eat fast enough)!
Now, the more I think about it, the more that the idea of a “food club” seems like what may very well be the next smart trend in healthy eating.
Think about it, the only real way to know for sure what is going on with your food these days is to actually, really, IN PERSON, see where it is coming from. The mission that started my long-winded, eye roll-inducing rant that has turned into this blog.
But re-inventing the wheel every time isn’t necessary. Only a few people need to find a few places and vouch for them to a larger group: Are the cows and chickens really pasture fed? Is the cow’s milk tested for pathogens? Do the animals seem healthy and well-taken care of? What is given to them in their feed? Are the animals actually given access to pastures and other clean outdoor spaces?? (again, if you have a relationship with a certain market or farm, then you are already ahead of the game).
But ultimately, in these times of constant dissappointment with what we thought we knew, information should come from people with no agenda of their own beyond finding safe and healthy food. I’ve been visiting some farms lately and have more slated for later this month. I know others out there must be doing the same. So here’s a deal, I’ll post any great places I find here and I invite anyone interested to do the same (as long as it’s truly unbiased). Maybe people can hook up with others who live close to them, or we can pick a central spot.
Hey, a new movement? I’m feelin’ it…

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