Living Large with Marge

May 072008
Authors: Maggie Canty

“Don’t put that in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been.”

By the time we started growing teeth, most moms have been drilling this concept into our heads.

And for the most part, they’re right.

From the cigarette butts outside Trailhead to girls who go to CU, it’s generally a good policy to not get anything with a mysterious past near your mouth.

So why don’t we apply this concept to food?

Buying food grown and packaged locally not only boosts our local economy, but, unlike girls from CU, it’s oftentimes fresher and better tasting.

The reasoning is simple. When you spend a dollar on a cup of coffee brewed by a local, independent shop owner, chances are they will spend that dollar on something locally themselves, whether by paying their employees or buying something else here in the city.

This stimulates the local economy and keeps the places unique to the Fort dependent on local business up and running.

And you just may find that local food tastes better too.

When you buy a tomato grown from a local farmer, you know exactly where it came from. Chances are, it was picked in the last couple days, and didn’t spend the last week ripening in the back of a semi on the other side of the country, like most imported food.

Plus, the money you spend on it may very well be keeping a local farmer in business.

And if those creepy posters in the LSC of the green man haven’t scared you out of caring about the environment, then you should also consider the saved gas and energy from transporting food from halfway around the world when a similar product is grown right here.

But staying local doesn’t stop at the grocery store. Supporting locally owned businesses keeps them afloat in a sea of corporations and chains, and maintains our city’s individuality.

Think of it this way: at one time, even New Belgium was dependent on our local business.

All the more reason to go there. It’s noon somewhere.

“Buying food that was grown locally helps the local economy and community,” said Chad Chriestenson, the outreach and membership director at the Fort Collins Food Co-op. “It keeps money in the community and strengthens the local food system.”

Chriestenson also said that food grown in other parts of the world is distributed using ships, trucks, trains and other transportation, making it less sustainable and less fresh tasting.

“Food grown locally is usually delivered every other day,” Chriestenson said. “It’s fresher and the quality of the food is better.”

So when Subway says eat fresh, they must not be talking about themselves.

Some of my favorites owned and operated locally include the sandwiches at Pickle Barrel on Laurel and College, the breakfasts at Red Table in down town Fort Collins and Walrus Ice Cream on Mountain Avenue.

And if you’re interested in locally grown produce and products, try the food co-op in down town, Sunflower Market or one of the farmer’s markets. They all offer a variety of foods dug up right here in Northern Colorado.

And as soon as they’re able to grow Wendy’s Triplestackers, life will be perfect.

Entertainment editor Maggie Canty can be reached at

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