Chow Town

Time to learn that eating locally comes with cost

Farm to table. This phrase has been thrown around lately like an old pair of shoes.

What exactly is it besides a term in our pop culture? We the people have started to demand a better food source, so we are going to farmers markets for produce and seeking out local ranchers for our meats.

Chefs are on a search for the best ingredients and would prefer local everything for more flavor. Foodies find it stylish to eat at the local places, and enjoy the flavors immensely.

The result is we are on the edge of actually changing our food system. We are taking from the old system, learning what works and why it doesn’t and applying it to a new system to make a healthier, happier nation.

But we are still stuck on the pricing which has been set forth in the commodity world.

Most people understand local is going to be a bit more. But all in all, the consumer is having a hard time swallowing how much the actual costs are to produce unadulterated food in this country.

We all know what it costs to live here and no one directly related to the food system gets a discount. While asking the small family farm or ranch to provide us a more natural product, we are squeezing them for a better price. Soon enough they will be unable to supply our demand.

This seems like a gap in the system. So we need to have a conversation on why to fix it and how it can work. Maybe it starts will all of us, choosing higher quality food and foregoing quantity.

Our food, our nutrition for the health of our bodies, should never be discounted and has the power to support our nation.

By making a simple choice each time we shop or dine, we can support and grow our local communities which will strengthen our country. Eating good food and taking care of our bodies has proven time and time again to improve our health and reduce health care costs.

Yes, it may cost a little more to make the right choice now. But the return on your investment is health and a strong community — not only financially but we just may get back to knowing our neighbors.

People need good wholesome food. So we need the farmer, the restaurateur, the foodie and the market; and the system needs the consumer. It is making that choice to bridge the gap where we will weave a fabric of sustainability with our food choices.

Farmers, we hear you. Restaurants, please keep serving local to be a strong hold in the market, consumers keep purchasing and voting with your dollar. Instead of throwing around those old shoes, lets put them on and get to work on making some real changes.

Farm to table. It is supporting our community and changing our food system one plate at a time.

Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly's Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.