Do I need to be a member to shop at Prairieland Market?
No, anyone can shop at Prairieland Market. Members pay a fee and receive discounts and voting privileges. With a $25 annual membership, your household will save 5% on every purchase for that year. A $200 fee earns the 5% discount for life. A Premium membership at $450 gets a 10% lifetime discount. Bulk orders receive an additional 5% discount.
Becoming a member is a fun way to meet others interested in knowing how and where their food is grown. We have an annual potluck and other events throughout the year.
Why is it important to buy locally grown foods?
Weather and transportation trouble affect food shipped from far away. For example, freezes in the South and drought in California may drive up produce costs. Buying locally not only helps maintain that critical food supply, but also provides jobs and economic value for our community.
And we save energy – lots of it. As Steven L. Hopp says in “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver: “If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That’s not gallons, but barrels. Small changes in buying habits can make big differences.”
Why do organic foods generally cost more?
Historically, the bulk of government farm subsidies go to large, industrial farming operations while the often smaller, organic farms get the short end of that particular stick. So even though that box of sugary cereal seems to cost less up front, we are paying hidden costs via taxation, air and water pollution and health care costs. And anyone using the “Organic” label must pay extra fees to be certified.
However, the overall cost of organic foods has been dropping due to the increasing demand over the last several years.
Is organic food better for you?
Yes and no. It all depends on the soil and how it is grown. If the soil has been tended with plenty of naturally derived fertilizers and organic matter versus being sprayed with an artificial array of synthetic petroleum-based fertilizers, the food grown on it will more than likely be more nutritious. And the “organic” label by itself is not a guarantee – it pays to know your farmer and how your food has been grown, which is another advantage of buying local.
At the very least, organic food will not be drenched in dangerous pesticides and herbicides that end up being consumed directly by your family.
Industrial agriculture is dependent on large inputs of chemicals and fossil fuels that can end up damaging the soil and polluting the air and water supply, resulting in lower quality food and compromising the environment.
What are the benefits of grass-fed beef and free-range chickens?
Grass-fed beef has substantial amounts of heart-healthy vitamin E, omega 3, and conjugated linoleic acid, a fat that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes and a number of immune disorders. The omega 3 in grass-fed beef is 7% of the total fat content compared to 1% in grain fed beef. The overall fat content is grass-fed beef is lower than traditionally raised raised skinless chicken. A 6 ounce steak from a grass finished steer has almost 100 fewer calories that a 6 ounce steak from a grain fed steer.
Eggs from chickens allowed to forage in pasture contain higher levels of beneficial nutrients, including omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E, as compared to caged hens given standard feed.
Industrial animal food production relies on CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) which create huge quantities of concentrated excrement causing waste storage and water quality problems. The many animals confined in a small space are physically stressed and subject to disease and infection and are routinely given antibiotics in their feed. Nearly three-quarters of all antibiotics in the United States are used in CAFO’s. This overuse has led to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, creating new health hazards for humans.
How can I be more involved?
Volunteer at the store or help out with our special events throughout the year. We especially need volunteers for the Prairie Festival in the fall and Discover Salina Naturally in the spring.
Contact Melanie at the store or any of the board members for more opportunities to be involved.