Antidote for Food-borne Illness Outbreaks

For immediate release

For Antidote to Food-borne Illness Outbreaks, Richmond-area Families Turn to Local Food

Richmond, Va. — The recent listeria outbreak linked to one agribusiness’s cantaloupes killed as many as 17 people in 19 states. Such widespread outbreaks of food-borne illnesses are caused, in part, by the long distances food travels through today’s complex food chain. By the time a huge agribusiness’s produce reaches a family’s table, that produce has passed through many hands and storage facilities, over hundreds or thousands of miles, for days or weeks on end.

For a growing number of Americans, the solution is to buy local — even WalMart’s getting in on the trend. Here in the Richmond area, an organization called The Farm Table connects local families with local family farmers within 200 miles of Richmond. “We get our fruit and veggies directly from the farmers we know. Then we deliver it to our neighbors,” explains Duane Slyder, one of the Farm Table’s staffers. “So our members know exactly where their produce is coming from.”

At the same time, Farm Table members are supporting local farmers, reducing long distance shipping and the pollution that goes with it, while putting fresher food on the table. The freshness improves the produce’s nutritional value, not to mention its taste. As one member put it: “I like knowing that we’re helping keep small farmers in business. I love that it’s local and that my apple didn’t cost the planet the toll of a long trip from God-knows-where. And the taste of everything — holy cow!”

More information about The Farm Table is at www.thefarmtable.org, including a link to the members’ Facebook page. This season’s deliveries will continue until Thanksgiving, and members and staffers are available for interviews. In addition, this Sunday The Farm Table will host a family potluck picnic to celebrate Food Day, www.foodday.org. The potluck will be held from 1:00 – 4:00 pm on Sunday, Oct. 23, at Tuckahoe Plantation, 12601 River Road, Richmond VA 23238. The event features great local food and children’s activities and is open to the media.

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