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Eat local goes mainstream


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Eat locally. This concept is nothing new among East Bay gourmets. But recently it has, um, mushroomed.

This past summer, Whole Foods pledged to buy produce from at least four local farmers at each of its 186 stores and has agreed to host farmers markets in its parking lots. The five farmers featured at Whole Foods in Walnut Creek, for example, are Frog Hollow Farm and Knoll Farms in Brentwood, Happy Boy Farms in Freedom, Martinez Farm in Watsonville, and Full Belly Farm in Capay Valley.

Berkeley author Michael Pollan should take some credit for this achievement. He called Whole Foods out in The Omnivore’s Dilemma for making it appear that the stores supported local farms when they were buying little or nothing locally.

Also, starting at the end of the summer, Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente teamed up with CAFF, the Community Alliance With Family Farmers, to serve locally sourced fruits and vegetables to Kaiser patients in 19 Northern California facilities.

“Eating locally is about a traditional approach to food, one that is more healthful,” says Anya Fernald, food program director at CAFF. “People are starting to return to that.”

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