Earlier this year, I was invited to give a small presentation to the 4th/5th grade multi-age class at Hatch Elementary School in Oak Park on eating local. The librarian, Ms. Cox, was especially impressed and pledged to eat more local. So, she was surprised to find me one day in Whole Foods, and you too may be surprised why I always seem on top of Whole Foods. I am there about two (or more) times a week. It seems there's always something we need. (Local) milk, lunch things for the kidz (one of the few things that I have not been able to fully go local on even as we have forsake "baby" carrots), bread, kefir, soy milk, Great Lakes fish, and every time I need to stop at Whole Foods, I do a check for what's local.
What I found yesterday is that Whole Foods is making big (BIG) promises. According to a brochure in their store, they will be providing up to $10 million in low interest loans to local farmers in the Midwest. In addition, they are teaming up with FarmilyFarmed.org to promote local. Their literature names about 45 farms in the Midwest (stretching from Indiana to Nebraska) that will supply Whole Foods.
Count me as skeptical. To me, a strong (better) first step would be to detox the stores of the various evils I saw yesterday. Sweet corn from Florida (oh yeah, that'll be sweet), cherries from Chile (!). I say make people buy what's in season now. Scroll down this blog, it's not like we are lacking right now in local stuff. Anyways, strident, un-realistic me very much welcomes Whole Food's commitment to local farmers. I'll be tracking how well they fulfil their promises.