How Locally Do You Eat?

Center School Students Want to Know

The Recorder


Recorder Staff

Saturday, September 22, 2007

GREENFIELD – How many people buy locally grown foods? What’s most important in choosing produce? Price? Appearance? Locally grown? Organic?

Fifth- and sixth-grade Greenfield Center School students are helping ClSA (Communities Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) find out these answers by compiling a survey about what people want most in their fruits and vegetables.

About 20 students polled roughly 400 people on Main Street this week, and will pre­sent their data to CISA next week. The information will allow ClSA to determine “what drives the purchase of local food,” said Claire Morenon of CISA.

When asked what surprised them most about the survey, many students said they didn’t know how many people buy local food

JHE of Northampton, J, 11 of Amherst and MF, 10, of Montague found that more people preferred local produce to that labeled “organic.”

“I was surprised so much is grown in Massachusetts,” remarked EV 11 of Greenfield. Part of the students’ assignment this week was a “scavenger hunt,” to find produce grown in different parts of the world, .in different parts of the United States, and foods grown and produced near Greenfield.

“I shop with my parents, but 1 didn’t think about where (the food) came from,” he continued. “Before 1 did the scavenger hunt, 1 would have said about 30 percent of my food was local. Now 1 would say 60 percent.”

SS of Northampton said she was surprised that as many people buy produce at farmers markets as buy it in the grocery store. “Few grew their own,” she noted. Her survey partner, OV of Amherst, said most people who buy their produce in supermarkets mentioned cost as their most important consideration. “I thought people would have liked ‘organic’ more,” he said.

LB said she was surprised that most people say their favorite local produce is corn on the cob, rather than strawberries, tomatoes or apples.

“I interviewed a policeman, and he said he only ate 5 percent of local,” B continued. “I must eat 80 percent local,” said B, whose father farms in Gill.

Many Center School students will be taking a pledge next week to eat more local produce, with their parents’ permission. For some, the pledge is to eat one locally grown fruit or vegetable per day, while others are pledging to eat “100 percent” local food, with the exception of spices, salt or some other “wild card” food exception, such as wheat or pasta.

Teacher Rebecca Golden said the purpose is to help educate children and their families of the value of eating fresh, local foods. She said the school’s after-school snacks next week will be derived from local produce.

When asked if she plans to pledge to eat more locally grown food next week, LB, who turns 10 on Sunday, shook her head no. “It’s the week of my birthday,” she said. “I want to chill out and eat whatever I want.”

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