May 18, 2012 11:07:51 AM
This Saturday, a home-cooked meal in Starkville could cost you $125. You can be sure it won't be your standard meat-and-three. Chef Ty Thames of Restaurant Tyler is preparing a seven-course feast made with locally sourced ingredients as a fund-raiser for Gaining Ground, a organization dedicated to the promotion of a sustainable lifestyle.
Event coordinator Mandi Sanders says the response to the dinner has been enthusiastic. "We had planned for 50 and I think we finally cut it off at 70," said Sanders.
Sounds like those 70 are in for a culinary adventure. The menu will include quail eggs, molasses, catfish and goat.
As local farmers' markets are once again waking form their winter dormancy, the event provides us a welcome reminder of the bounty of area gardens and farms. Locally produced food is healthier, fresher, easier on the environment and better for the local economy.
"When you buy from a big chain, only about $10 out of the $100 you spend stays in the local economy," says Alison Buehler, who with her husband, Mike, started the Starkville group. "When you buy locally, that number is $60, sometimes even more. That can have a huge impact on a local economy."
Although the idea of sustainability and 'green living' is often seen viewed as a liberal point of view, Buehler says it's really an apolitical concept.
"There are so many things today that divide people, but what we've found is that what we are proposing really unites people," she said. "You go to our meetings and you will see Tea Party people hugging Occupy people, vegetarians hugging hunters. It really is a shared concern when you really give it some thought."
Farmers markets nourish in more ways than just providing food; they bring people together, build community and encourage entrepreneurship.
Why not get up Saturday morning and join the fun? The Hitching Lot Farmers' Market in Columbus goes from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Starkville Community Farmers' Market, downtown on the corner of East Lampkin Jackson, runs from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The West Point market begins June 7 and will be open Thursday evenings at the Mossy Oak Pavilion from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.