Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 9:42 PM on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Want to eat healthy? Keep it simple

Farmers' Market


There is so much talk of eating healthy these days. There are diet books that say you should eat more meat. There are books that say you should only eat raw food. There are others that say you should eat only vegetables. Recently a speaker in Homer from the Breast Cancer Fund listed statistics about how even the plastic in the containers your food is in can affect your health.

What can you do? As Michael Pollen says, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Keep it simple.

But our food system is anything but simple. There is a lot of work in running the plows, tractors, tillers, planters, seed drills, fertilizers, sprayers, produce sorters, harvesters, gleaners, trucks...Wait a minute. That doesn't sound like the local agriculture I imagine.

Keep it simple.

The U.S. food system consumes about 1 quadrillion British thermal units from fossil fuel every year to make the farm inputs like fuel and fertilizer. Another quadrillion Btu gets eaten up in the process of farming with all the machinery. That's a little too complicated for me (especially when you add 4 quadrillion Btu just to process the food).

Here on the Kenai Peninsula we prefer to be more grounded. Almost every farmer at the Homer Farmers' Market uses Alaska fishbone meal to amend their soil. They add compost to keep the microbial life healthy and improve the tilth of the soil. Some have easy access to horse and rabbit manure while others use more chicken manure. They balance their soil needs with greensand for potassium, kelp meal for micronutrients and lime for pH. They know that keeping the soil healthy will simply keep their plants healthy.

That, in turn keeps you healthy.

We are lucky that our local food system is so dedicated to growing organically. Check out the Certified Naturally Grown website to better understand the dedication some of our producers have to growing healthy food.

So head down Ocean Drive to the Homer Farmers' Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday and you can pick from simple, healthy food or even choose from the variety of starts and grow your own.

Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers' Market's biggest fan. She can be reached at kyra@ sustainablehomer.org.