Essay Contest Runner-Up: The Benefits of Bounties in Our Own Backyards by Denyel Koury

31 Jul

Another runner-up essay from our Locavore Challenge writing contest – enjoy! These essays do not necessarily represent the opinions of NOFA-NY, its staff, or any of its certified organic or farmers pledge farms.  We hope they give you plenty to think about and discuss!

I was in sociology class sitting in an old school room during my senior year of college. On this particular day, we were learning about agriculture and the environment. I was sinking into my seat, my feet encroaching on the legs of the desk in front of me until the professor began to raise his voice. I snapped back to an upright position like a rubber band.

“You guys don’t get it,” the professor shouted. “Organic milk is so delicious! For homework, go to the store, buy organic milk and taste it. That stuff they’re giving you in the cafeteria doesn’t compare.”

working with animals Stacey Grabski

Later, I walked to the grocery store and bought the organic milk. I plopped the quart on my kitchen counter, examined the carton, and poured myself a glass. From the moment it touched my tongue, I noticed a deeper creamier taste. I knew this milk was pure, free of chemicals and void of other “additions.” Drinking it made me feel both refreshed and responsible. I was happy to support the animal, the farmer, my health, and the movement toward a sustainable earth. This moment opened the floodgates to other organic foods and the idea of consuming locally sourced products.

I live in Western New York, and I am surrounded by true locavore pioneers. It begins with our farmers who want you to know about their practices and produce. It is not unusual to be invited to a farm tour from our thick-skinned yet generous growers who treat their crops, meat, and dairy products like their own children. Do they make bumper stickers for tractors that read, “My goats are smarter than your honor roll student?” I wish.

Thor Oechsner checking oat field_RachelLodder

Jokes aside, our region boasts a myriad of restaurants and vendors who bridge these harvests to consumers. Inspirational chefs highlight the bounties available in our own backyards through gastronomic wizardry. Bite into any local culinary creation and you will taste the thunderous rapids feeding the river, the dramatic escarpment etched across Niagara County, and the rolling hills of the south towns. These dishes are so amazing you will want to bow to your plate. Our local grocery stores and markets pride themselves on local and organic products. These community-lead businesses create jobs in our own neighborhoods and support other local establishments. They uphold traditional service, friendliness, and knowledge, making each customer proud to shop at their businesses.

Our farmers, vendors, and events leap to rock star status thanks to the local publishers who bring our region to life through journalism. They make natives excited to live here; they prompt us to re-discover our region while simultaneously inviting the rest of the world to stop by for a taste.

Combining wheat_RachelLodder

Eating locally and organically connects the consumer to the creator, invigorates local economies, supplies us with a healthy well-being and provides a social, economic, and environmental win-win-win. Maybe I should send a thank you card to that professor.


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