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“It’s all part of reacquainting people with a true agriculture. And hopefully we’re going to get to a point where instead of a consumer just having their own doctor, their own dentists, they have their own farmer.” - Vance Corum, WSU Small Farms Program

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In the course of creating “Broken Limbs,” filmmakers Guy Evans and Jamie Howell discovered their own purchasing and eating habits were transformed. It is important to note, though, that shopping habits formed over a lifetime are not changed overnight, but one small purchase, one meal at a time.

 

Think of it as a treasure hunt. Read labels, ask questions. Then consider these questions: Was it hard to find local or regional products? Did you have to go out of your way? Did you buy anything you wouldn't have otherwise? How did the cost compare to what you might ordinarily have purchased? How did the quality compare? Did you make any discoveries about your own habits, good or bad?

Extend your range: A natural extension of this exercise is to seek out foods that offer you a higher level of information about how they were produced. Organic Apples? Free range chicken? Grass-fed beef? These are all examples of foods labeled with communication in mind. It doesn't matter what you believe in or approve of, only that you momentarily raise your conscious awareness of where the food you buy is coming from and how it is grown.

Vote with your wallet: In the movie Deborah Kane of the Food Alliance pointed out that a produce manager will make changes in a produce department when about 10 people ask, "Because they figure if 10 people go to the trouble to ask, 100 others are thinking the same thing."

In addition to actually asking, if you would like to see more local, regional or sustainably produced foods on the shelf, one of the best ways to send that message is through the buying decisions you make every day. Make no mistake, America's businesses are paying attention to those votes.