One of the biggest problems facing both our health and our economy is the rise of mass produced food that is shipped across the region, across the country, or across the world. As the NY Times writes, the expenditure of fossil fuels during the transport of our agriculture goods across the planet is a significant factor in rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, contributing directly to climate change.
It is not just the environment that is suffering, however. Mass produced, heavily trafficked food needs to be laden with fats and sugars to keep it preserved during its travels. That is one reason why, according to MedicineNet, Americans now consume 156 pounds of sugar annually. This number feeds directly into the obesity epidemic in the United States. Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control put obesity levels among American adults at 35.7%. The system we have relied on for so long to provide us with cheap food has failed us.
Fortunately for the residents of the Flower City, there are local restaurants and markets trying to push us to eat local food. Eating local, seasonal food is the best way to get natural delights that taste better, are better for us, and put less stress on the environment. If you want to take part in the locavore movement, here are three local food restaurants and markets in Rochester, NY to help you on your journey.
- Small World Foods
- The Rochester Public Market
Small World Foods is taking the concept of a local food service to a whole new level. Whereas many local food producers focus on meats and finished dishes, Small World produces locally sourced granola, bread, miso, flours, and sweets. They also produce some of the best hot sauce in the state, if not the country.
Small World does not stop its mission with its goods. Instead, they provide an opportunity for Rochester locals to learn about sustainable sourcing and production. The popularity of their food and outreach has lead to their being a successful, collectively owned business.
Lento is, arguably, the finest local food restaurant in the city. With an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a menu that changes with the seasons, Lento has their finger on the pulse of what is good in Rochester. Located on N.Goodman St., Lento sources its ingredients directly from Bolton Farms in Hilton and many others who are in the area, allowing them to bring consumers local, fresh, and healthy flavors year round.
To ignore the historic Public Market of Rochester would be a crime. For over a century, the Rochester market has been a staple for locals and outsiders alike. Here farmers, artisans, and musicians come together to offer visitors a taste of all things local. Love fresh, ethically produced meats? The Public Market offers many choices in local food restaurants and stalls. If you love hearing live buskers bring the morning to life, there are few better places to be at sunrise on Saturday.
The mass produced, dehumanized food production model we have been relying on for decades has to stop if we want to regain great food that is healthy for us to eat. Many local establishments in Rochester are doing their part. What about you?