A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Caroll Lee, Owner of Get Fresh: On Raising New Eaters… Locally

Caroll Lee in front of her restaurant/market
Get Fresh
in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Caroll Lee

I just gave birth to a healthy baby boy a few months ago. My oldest child, Ruby, is already 3 1/2 years old, so it’s been a while since I’ve held a little infant in my arms. I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to fall in love with a new little creature, that through some miracle of nature, I helped create and put on this planet. And with that knowledge that I am responsible for my son Otto’s presence in the world, comes the responsibility to the world we live in and creating a better place for him and future generations.

There are so many ways we can give back, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot in this season of charity and giving. For me, food is life and eating local food is the small way that I choose to contribute to a better world at large. I’m the owner of Get Fresh (http://www.getfreshnyc.com), a restaurant and market on 5th Ave that serves meals sourced from sustainable, locally grown ingredients. While I was pregnant, I was fortunate to have this easy resource for eating healthy, organic meals from local farms. Now that I’m nursing, I continue to be conscious of the old adage “you are what you eat”, as what I eat not only nourishes me but also helps strengthen and grow the new little man in my life. You may have heard that eating local is the right thing to do, but may be unsure of the exact reasons why. Here’s are the main reasons I am inspired to eat locally:

  • First and foremost, I love to eat! A new acquaintance recently told me that every time she sees me, I’m eating. Okay, so that gave me a bit of a complex until I realized she was right and then I gave thanks for my relatively fast metabolism. But no matter. The fact is, great food comes from great, fresh ingredients and when you eat local, you get exactly that. Instead of being picked for its ability to ripen while traveling on a truck across the country, local food is picked at its peak and therefore tastes as nature intended.
  • My family is more willing to try new foods. Who knew that celery was so yummy? Or that my daughter loves purple cauliflower? Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is a great way to support a local farm and expand your family’s culinary universe at the same time!
  • Being conscious of what you put in your mouth and where it came from makes us eat healthier. When you eat more like your grandparents did, instead of processed foods with scarily long lists of ingredients, you’re simply eating a healthier diet and passing along those values to your kids.
  • Not only is it healthier, it’s easier on your wallet to cook up farm fresh veggies than to purchase processed food. (And if you’re short on time to cook, that’s where Get Fresh can help!)
  • Eating locally supports the regional economy. I’d rather spend my money supporting my neighbors than industrial agriculture in California or China.
  • Small farms are better for the health of the planet. As opposed to the monoculture method of farming, small family farms practice more bio-diverse methods of farming, preserving our land and watershed for the future. And you and your kids aren’t getting the antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides that are often present in conventionally-raised meat and produce.
  • Eating with the seasons connects us to the natural world. It feels slightly bizarre to me to eat a peach or a strawberry in the middle of the winter. The modern world has many advantages, but shipping food thousands of miles just so we can eat an out of season fruit just seems irresponsible in these times.

They say that eating is a political act. It’s been an exciting political year, and as we head into the new year with the prospect of positive change in the country and the world, sustainability, in every sense of the word, is something we can all work towards. The world my daughter and son grow up in will be very different from the one I grew up in. I will do my part to ensure that this world that they inhabit now and in the future is one where food plays an important role in the health of our bodies and the health of the planet. Let’s all learn to enjoy real food again, and make the world a better place for our kids while doing it.