Sunday, January 21, 2007

Transcending the Obvious

When we came up the phrase Know Your Roots™, we wanted to inspire a new way to think about food; something beyond the ubiquitous “Organic and "Buy Local slogans.” Know your Roots™ gets at, well, your roots. It asks everyone who eats--and we all do--to think about their food and where it comes from, how it is grown, and by whom. Putting that ethos into action is an important and we feel long overdue step that people need to make. In fact we think it's irresponsible to put anything in your mouth if you don't know where it comes from and how it was made-- its roots. We are convinced that an adoption of Know Your Roots™ by consumers would be the proverbial tipping point to solving so many issues right now. Obesity, e-coli outbreaks, and urban sprawl, to name a few.

Defining the geographic boundaries of such a food philosophy is a task for everyone to undertake. There are wholesale buyers out there that believe that, "Global is the new Local." Positions like that are very apparently trying to co-opt the local movement and pull the proverbial wool over the consumer’s eyes. Take the teeth out of any definition, and if consumers don't ask, then nobody is really going to care except in a superficial manner. So how do people take a stand a make sure Local is really Local? And how healthy it is for you and the planet to buy organic if the food needs to be put on a Jet plane and consume vast amounts of fossil fuels to get to you while it's still fresh.

There’re a mini-movement happening out there focused on eating food grown as close to home as possible. People involved in these movements are called, "Locavores" also known as the 100 mile diet because it restricts folks from consuming food grown any further than 100 miles from where they live. Food and wine magazine (the .com version) recently published an article that explores variations in more detail. That article can be found at How to Eat like a Locavore" (see We recognize that being a Locavore lives within and in a way celebrates Know Your Roots™ Because the first step in eating only locally, is to make the conscious effort to pay attention to where their food comes from.

While this diet may be too restrictive for some, Know Your Roots™ is inconclusive. It does require a shift in consciousness. We think that shift is necessary and long overdue. Knowing your roots gives you a way out of our dysfunctional food system and into a truly conscientious food community.

So here's to Knowing your Roots™ and a bit about ours. We’re located in New York’s Hudson Valley in the shadow of the Catskill Mountains on a farm with a nearly two hundred year history. Although our ultimate goal is to provide consumers with their next best local food experience, beginning next year, we’ll begin transitioning from a progressive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) farm to one using organic growing techniques. We’ll undoubtedly become certified USDA Organic along the way, although our thinking is way beyond that. Being farmers means more than just growing food, it means being good stewards of the land and good neighbors in our community. It also means giving consumers a way out of the industrial food machine and into a truly transcendent food community.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard this particular farm is rented and the actual owner is bulldozing it to build luxury homes.
Oh well...

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Blogger Mike Biltonen said...

Not exactly and it is a long way until anything large or small is going to happen.

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