Healthy Soil. Healthy Food. Healthy People.

An article about one of our Farmers Market Workshop guests: Author Joanne Neft

It is no secret that our country is in big trouble. America has been hit hard by an epidemic of obesity and diseases that are caused by artificially cheap food. But no wonder this outbreak has effected a vast majority of America's population with a greedy food industry marketing processed junk-food effectively and conditioning Americans to be stingy when shopping for food.

As many food-movements have been created to reverse this horrifying trend of the food industry the local-food movement seems to be the most promising to teach our children for the much-needed change in America's nutritional future. The local-food movement advocates to buy in-season produce from local farmers. The movement really began on the West Coast where the awareness of where food comes from that people are consuming is much higher than the rest of the country. Communities need weekly farmers markets for the movement to stay current in the mind's of Americans and widespread throughout the country.

Joanne Neft and Douglas Dale have both been very involved in Tahoe City's farmers markets and avid shoppers. Both, Neft and Dale, saw a demand for people needing more guidance on how to get the best out of local farmers markets. Joanne Neft created a very simple cookbook, "Placer County: Real Food from Farmers Markets", to follow depending on what produce are in season and Douglas Dale has been organizing and teaching Farmers Market Cooking Classes at Wolfdale's, his local Tahoe City restaurant, for three summers now. Last Thursday the two joined together and taught over twenty locals the importance of eating fresh, local, and seasonal foods.

The morning started with several enthusiastic women accompanying Chef Douglas Dale to the Tahoe City farmers market. Once returning to Wolfdale's restaurant with all of their fresh produce they split-up into four groups to prepare a four-course luncheon. As a result the women not only got to enjoy an amazing luncheon, but learned some of Dale's favorite seasonal recipes, learned specific techniques and facts about produce from the farmers at the market, and heard about Joanne Neft's journey of her lifetime passion for eating only real foods from local farmers markets. North Tahoe High School students from Laura Hartung's cooking class also attended to help with the luncheon and benefitted from Neft's inspiring talk.

Neft discussed author Michael Pollan, who has become a nominal figure for the local-food movement, and his little rule, "Pay more, eat less," to follow in order to eat better foods. By hearing Pollan's rule to follow-by really put America's epidemic into perspectives as it is completely conflicting to how the food industry is promoting the opposite: pay less, eat more.

Joanne Neft highly recommended Pollan's, "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto," as an amazing book to read.- Written By:Christine Dale

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