When initially founded, Pittsfield Township was a farming community, and all foods consumed locally were produced locally. Today that has changed, although there are growing efforts to reverse that trend -- because of the nutritional advantages of buying foods that are raised locally.
Joan Miller from Washtenaw County Extension Service, a nurse with a background in nutrition, spoke to Pittsfield Grange members about the contemporary local food movement. Joan was accompanied by Peter diLorenzi, Nutrition Instructor, who brought his portable stove and wok, and demonstrated how to prepare a nutritious stir fry using fresh vegetables and pasta.
Joan and Peter described their efforts to educate consumers about the value of eating fresh, locally grown food. Locally grown food tastes better, is fresher and crisper and contains more nutrients. Produce that is grown for shipping is bred for tough skins in order to survive up to a week in transit, during which some nutritional value is lost each day. Locally grown food preserves farming and open space, builds community, supports a clean environment, preserves wildlife, and helps keep taxes in check. Proceeds from locally grown food go to local farmers. CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) are important to a community because they teach where food comes from, in addition to being a source of local produce and providing a direct link between farmer and consumer.
Having equal access to food is a social issue because people of impoverished backgrounds often do not have transportation to supermarkets or farmer's markets. There is no longer a grocery store within Ypsilanti city limits, which forces residents without transportation to rely on carry-out type stores for food purchases.
Joan and Peter see themselves as public servants, and are dedicated to informing consumers about issues of food quality and the importance of having access to fresh, nutritious foods.