Eat local: buying into the movement
September 18, 2009
You’ve heard the cry and seen the bumper stickers cropping up around town: ‘Eat local.’ ‘Buy local first.’ ‘Support local growers.’ The movement to buy and eat local products is gaining steam. But what exactly does it mean to eat local, and how does one go about it?
Two years ago, local resident Alexandra Fuller set out to answer these and other questions in a short film entitled, "Eat Like A Local." The mini-documentary premiered in September of 2007 on Park City Television. After that, Fuller says, it was filed away in a closet.
But this past Wednesday, the film made its second debut as part of the Environmental Film Series at the Swaner Eco Center, reviving conversations about eating locally and sparking new enthusiasm to support the movement.
Fuller says that she’s been intrigued by food ever since she was a little kid. "My earliest memories are all about food," she says in the film. "I’ve always gotten tremendous pleasure from picking, growing and preparing food."
A few years ago, Fuller started reading books about the politics behind food and became fascinated by that as well. She decided that the topic was something she wanted to explore on a local level and share with the community.
Although she didn’t have any experience in filmmaking at the time, Fuller set her sights on making a short video. "I have always been interested in multimedia storytelling, and film was a medium I hadn’t delved into yet," she says. Park City Television agreed to provide the means for the production and sent cameraman Andy Bauman to document her adventures.
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In the film, Fuller interviews local chefs, farmers and those on the forefront of the Eat Local revolution.
She starts her journey by chatting with Jerry Garcia, owner and executive chef of Chez Betty, a Park City restaurant that uses local ingredients in its recipes.
Then she goes straight to the source, tasting all-natural cheeses at Shepherds Dairy in Tooele and sampling organic greens, herbs and vegetables at Ranui Gardens in Hoytsville.
An interview with Gavin Noyes, former executive director of Local First Utah, provides insight into the benefits of buying local. "If you go to a farmers market, there are smaller quantities of goods and bigger varieties brought to a centralized location," Noyes explains. "Typically you have many fewer resources used in getting that food to your table." Fewer resources means less preservatives and less money and resources spent on transportation, shipping and packaging.
Fuller uses what she has learned to prepare a meal for her family using only food that is produced in Utah. From the lamb for osso buco to the fruit for a peach and raspberry pie, she is able to procure nearly all of the ingredients needed for a well-rounded, healthy dinner.
Since her initial foray into filmmaking, Fuller has gone on to work on other cinematic projects, including "Sister Wife," a short film that was accepted into last year’s Sundance Film Festival as well as other festivals around the world.
She says that sustainable eating is something she remains very interested in.
She participates in community supported agriculture through a local farm that provides seasonal produce to consumers on a regular basis throughout the growing season.
Making "Eat Like A Local" opened her eyes to how many products are available right here in Utah, Fuller says. "We have such a wide variety of local foods Basically everything you need to eat we grow within 100 miles."
Although it’s not feasible to eat locally year round, "We have the power to look for the local product first," Fuller says. She encourages people to express their desire to see local products available in the grocery store and asks people to be aware of the choices they make. "On a local level, I think we can really make changes."
For a directory of local businesses and more information about supporting local agriculture and food sources, visit http://www.localfirst.org
Where to buy local:
Wednesdays, noon to 6 p.m. at The Canyons cabriolet parking lot
Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Yard, 1251 Kearns Blvd.
Sundays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on lower Main Street
1270 Iron Horse Drive
1748 Redstone Center Drive