Many of you have probably heard the term “Choose 901” or my personal favorite, “Break the chain…eat local.” Both are underground movement’s to better the city we live in and to bring light to the importance of community and how it directly affects our well-being. These innovative leaders have stepped up to the plate and addressed the challenges that come with owning a small business….quite a feat if you think about it. We live in a country with some of the largest and most powerful global corporations in the world. Growing up, I was indoctrinated with big business. Franchisees such as Kroger, Sam, Citgo, along with your run of the mill strip malls abound here in the suburbs, despite the abundance of farmland in the surrounding rural communities. My first job was even a chain restaurant and a franchise. It wasn’t until I was offered a job by an old boss who had opened her own business that year that I realized the stark difference between working for some CEO way up in the corporate ladder and that of a boss who knew me, even worked with me at times. As a starving college student barely able to put gas in my car, I realized the utter importance of these small businesses and how they desperately need our support. It was an inspiration to see this woman build a business literally from scratch and to see her work every day to continue its growth and prosperity. It was such a life altering moment for me. She called the store her baby…and nurtured it as if that is exactly what it was. I saw passion and freedom in her small business where as working for the corporate world it was all rules and having to go through what felt like a ladder of people in order to receive one simple request.
Now please don’t think I dislike all big businesses. I’m certainly thankful for those companies and the jobs they offered me while working through my first years of college. However, I believe life is about balance and that everything in its correct proportion has a place. I guess that’s the dietetics in me! ;) I am so thrilled to see this city rebuild itself through these small businesses, and I’m forever grateful for the people behind them working hard to better serve us local Memphians.
So how does all this tie into nutrition?
Sorry it took all that to get to the heart of the issue and the real reason I advocate for this movement…our HEALTH! It is a no brainer that portion sizes are out of control for a lot of restaurants. There is also an issue of quality that exist within a lot of chain restaurants. No, I don’t believe it’s because the government is trying to poison us. (I hear that all the time) It’s actually a much deeper rooted issue. Food wasn’t made to be mass produced the way these big companies demand of it. But due to the inflated demand and in order for it to be grown, shipped, and fed to mass populations in a reasonable amount of time, we have had to sacrifice that one crucial thing; quality. Veggies and fruits are being picked early causing a loss in nutrient density in order to survive long hauls, our livestock are suffering under inhumane conditions and fed unnatural diets, and much more. The list could go on with many other issues, some of which are quite controversial. When we step back and look at commercial food production we see an issue of quantity over quality. By supporting local restaurants who prefer to source from local farms we support the local economy as well as the farmers who engage in ethical and sustainable farming practices. It’s truly a win-win situation when we decide to choose local!
Picture at top is from my Saturday grocery stop at the farmers market where I bought a lovely ham and cheese breakfast sandwich made from a local bakery in Hernando, Ms. Bon appetit! ;)
Student SAND member