Farmers Doing What They Can To Increase Interest In Local Foods - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

NEWS

Farmers Doing What They Can To Increase Interest In Local Foods Movement

Posted: Updated:
Mom was right; we need to eat our fruits and vegetables. Though we love our mothers, as Oklahomans, we've ignored her advice. Mom was right; we need to eat our fruits and vegetables. Though we love our mothers, as Oklahomans, we've ignored her advice.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Mom was right; we need to eat our fruits and vegetables. Though we love our mothers, as Oklahomans, we've ignored her advice.

Mike Appel and Emily Oakley have staked a claim to better eating at their sustainable, small-scale, organic vegetable farm.

"It's more like getting food from your neighbor," Oakley explained.

For 13 years, they've enriched their soil, outlasted Oklahoma's extreme temperature swings and severe storms and bugs.

"But it's kind of what makes it fun and interesting. It keeps it, it keeps us on our toes," Appel said.

For all their hard work, for all the beautiful, tasteful bounty that sprouts at Three Springs Farm - the turnips and lettuces, garlic and onions they carry every Saturday to the Farmer's Market - for all the goodness they've devoted their lives to producing, collectively, we're not eating it.

"It has been frustrating in the fact that it hasn't grown as much as we thought it would in the last 13 years, in terms of more farmers, more customers, really like a vibrant local food movement here," Appel said.

Oklahoma is 48th in the nation for vegetable consumption, 50th for fruit - dead last. So while we're passing it by, whether at the farmer's market or the grocery store, being last in eating fruits and vegetables is a big reason Oklahoma is a national leader in heart disease, obesity, diabetes and stroke. And even in this land of bounty, that's not something we turn around in a growing season.

"So now we have access to all these fruits and vegetables, so there definitely has to be a shift over several generations of adding these into recipes, teaching our kids at a young age to like fruits and vegetables. That they have a place at the table, too," Reasor's registered dietician, Heather Steele said.

Appel and Oakley settled in Oklahoma after traveling the world studying sustainable agriculture. They have advanced degrees in it, long years of working in community farming, and of studying how we feed ourselves with healthier, better-tasting, food.

"We're able to move here and have people really appreciate someone trying to grow in Oklahoma, 'cause it's challenging, and there aren't that many of us," Appel said.

They've grown a loyal customer base at the Saturday market, but would love to have some competition.

"We're just on the cusp, I feel, of really creating that strong local foods movement, but we need farmers," Appel said.

In vast stretches of rural Oklahoma, it's grow it yourself or do without. And whether at a street market or supermarket, many of us are mystified at anything more exotic than tomatoes or apples. That's Emily's ace-in-the-hole.

"Once you get the taste difference, and realize just how fresh it is and you can't even get a variety like this in the grocery store, that's what keeps people coming back," she said.

Just not enough of them - and until there are, we've got lots of room to grow before we're a healthier state.

"People have to eat more vegetables, I mean everybody," Appel said.

Mike and Emily have played a big role in advancing the "Double Up Food Bucks" program. That gives customers who are in the SNAP program, the old food stamps program, double the amount of what they spend. Buy $10 of produce, for instance, but actually receive $20 worth of product. To boost fruit and vegetable consumption, and nutrition, it's in place at eight farmer's markets across Oklahoma.

Special Features

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Politics

Breaking political news & the latest headlines from the state capitol & D.C.

Radars

See where weather is happening using our live interactive radars.

Technology

Spend your money wisely with reviews of new tech gadgets & the latest news in technology.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive
Powered by Frankly
News 9
7401 N. Kelley Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
News9.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 KWTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.