Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Giving Thanks for Locally Grown Food in George Goes Green Competition

Chestertown, MD, April 24, 2007 — The Center for Environment and Society at Washington College is pleased to announce that Daly Hall won the George Goes Green 2007 energy competition among faculty and staff.

Members of Daly Hall were observed turning out lights and shutting down computers, thereby contributing to an overall energy reduction in the building. The winners were awarded gift baskets, with all of the products donated by local producers. The Center gives thanks for locally grown foods and gratefully acknowledges the Chestertown Farmers' Market, Chris Hauss, Colchester Farm CSA, and Eve's Cheese for their contributions.

The Chestertown Farmers' Market assembles in Fountain Park every Saturday morning from April through November. It features fresh home-grown produce, plants, herbs, wonderful bread and baked goods, and an opportunity to talk to local growers, bakers and crafters.

Colchester Farm is a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture operation, which is based on the principle of mutual commitment. Community members buy shares in the farm before the growing season, helping with running costs and the risks of planting, while in turn members receive a share of the produce throughout the season. The farm is located on the Sassafras River near Galena.

Eve's Cheese is made with milk from Fawnwood Farm, a third generation Kent County family farm. The company was founded in 2001 by two families, the Masons and the Nunns, to create a value-added farm product. All varieties (Colby, Colby with Dill, Colby with Jalapeno, Cheddar, Cheddar with Horseradish) are made with Grade A milk and handcrafted by an Amish cheesemaker.

Besides offering exceptional taste and freshness, local foods contribute to the regional economy, support endangered family farms, help to safeguard family health, and protect the environment. Local foods also strengthen community interdependence and our relationship to the land.

Buying local products benefits the environment and helps farmers receive the majority of the profits from their own labor. Estimates on how long the average food travels from pasture to plate range from 1200 to 2500 miles. A lot of energy is expended freezing, packaging, refrigerating, and trucking that food around. Eating locally grown food means less fossil fuel burned in preparation and transport.

Local food is often safer, too. Even when it's not organic, small farms tend to be less aggressive than large commercial farms about using chemicals. Finally, family farms are more likely to grow more interesting varieties, making food more flavorful, protecting biodiversity and preserving a wider agricultural gene pool, an important factor in long-term food security.

The George Goes Green campaign helps to raise awareness of stewardship and sustainability practices. Efforts on campus include compositing, recycling, using environmentally-friendly products, eating locally grown foods, landscaping with native plant materials, and lobbying for the design and construction of green buildings that consume less energy, use non-toxic materials, and produce less waste than other buildings.

The Center for Environment and Society works to instill a conservation ethic by connecting people to the land and water. It supports interdisciplinary research and education, exemplary stewardship of natural and cultural resources, and the integration of ecological and social values. For more information, please go to www.georgegoesgreen.com or call the Center at 410-778-7295.

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