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It’s official – I am not the garden-craziest person I know anymore! I was dethroned by a portly man who has over 200 varieties of heirloom tomatoes growing in his parent’s backyard, garage and basement (you should see the potting soil ground into the carpet in the basement!). There’s way more to this story, but I have some bits of information I’d like to share first.

I started rereading a book this week and fell in love with it all over again. It’s called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – A Year of Food Life”, by Barbara Kingsolver. You might recognize that name – Barbara Kingsolver is an award winning fiction writer. In this book, she and her family tell the story about the year they committed to eating local. They could eat anything that was grown or raised within 50 miles of their home (including what they grew themselves). Fascinating!!

In the first chapter, they share some scary information about oil. They call our food “Oily food”, and here’s why:

  • Each of us uses up about 400 gallons of oil per year just to get our food.
  • 1/5 (80 gallons) of that goes to fueling the tractors, combines and other machinery, as well as making the synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
  • The remaining 320 gallons is used to turn the whole food into the processed version we love so much (think corn > Doritos), and to transport our food from where it’s produced to where we are.
  • Each food item in a typical American meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate.
  • If every American ate just ONE meal a week of locally and organically raised meat and produce, we would reduce oil consumption in our country by 1.1 million barrels of oil PER WEEK! (That’s barrels, not gallons.)

Small changes can make a big difference. Maybe our oil crisis can be solved by what we eat for breakfast!! This brings me back to the crazy tomato man. He is devoted to preserving heirloom varieties of vegetables. He works tirelessly and LOVES his plants. I spent 2 hours crawling around on his lawn asking about his tomatoes, and he knows them like you and I know our children! If we want to improve our world one gallon of oil at a time, this is the kind of person we need to support. I trucked home 31 different varieties of tomatoes – everything from black to orange and green striped tomatoes. I also got some beautiful heirloom bean seeds, including an almost extinct variety from a Native American tribe in South Dakota. (Who knows, maybe one of those seeds will grow a beanstalk and I’ll find a golden goose – I’ll let you know if I do!)

If you read anything I write, you know I love ksl.com. Well, guess what, that’s where you find local sources for meat and produce. Look up the Fresh Produce and Farmer’s Market section. You can find grass fed, organically raised beef, free range chicken, produce in every shape and size and people selling vegetable starts that they have grown organically in their own backyard. It’s a smorgasbord of local!! Let’s support our own – people that are raising food right here. It tastes better, is better for you, and as way more entertaining!! If you need vegetable starts, look up gianttomatoseeds.com. Or call 801-651-5953 and talk to Dale. If you find other great sources of local food, please share! Together we can feed our world, one tomato at a time.

Dr. Michelle Jorgensen

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