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New Mexico Thanksgiving Dinner Challenge: Go Local

November 16, 2009

EMBUDO, N.M. - Your turkey doesn't have to travel across state lines to make it to your Thanksgiving table. "Eat local for Thanksgiving" challenges are underway, and some local producers say finding a bird that's raised in New Mexico might not be as hard or expensive as you think.

One of them is David Rigsby. He owns Embudo Valley Organics, where he raises turkeys.

"I don't think it's that much more trouble. People who are into conventional productions of all sorts think they can't do it, but I don't think they're set back at all."

Eating local for the holidays is more than about supporting community farmers and ranchers; it also helps reduce energy use. Annie Conley, Market Connection program director at the Western Sustainability Exchange, explains.

"Not only is energy saved from transporting food shorter distances, but many local producers use more sustainable farming and ranching practices that reduce energy consumption and dependence on fossil fuels."

Many co-ops and grocers carry New Mexico-raised foods, often at very little or no extra expense over conventional, factory-farmed foods.

Other tips for having a locally-raised holiday meal include contacting summer farmers market vendors to see who has stored squash, pumpkins, onions and potatoes available, and searching old cookbooks, magazines and the Internet for recipes from 50 to 100 years ago, when ingredient lists focused more on what was locally available during the holidays.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM