The panel explored topics such as, is local better? Surprisingly, the answer isn't always yes. It is easy to forget about the transport and storage required to properly store food, which would make the notion of having all New Yorkers “eat local” quite a challenge.
As a New Yorker, it's also nearly impossible to eat everything in a local capacity; think lemons, cocoa, and salt.
Another interesting fact I picked up is that buying organic whole milk isn't always the way to go. Just because it says "organic" and "grass fed" doesn't mean that there aren't 4,000 cows stuffed in a big room that get fed “local” feed. Check out Cornucopia.org for a scorecard on your milk brand.
The panel encouraged people to ask questions. If you're feeling friendly during your next farmer's market visit, ask the famer about his or her practices. Just because a farmer may use pesticides, doesn't mean you should boycott their product. I learned that many farmers are using a pesticide called IPM, which is supposed to help suppress other dangerous pesticides. Start a conversation!
The discussion also explored omnivores verses carnivores. Although being a vegetarian is a great healthy lifestyle, including local, grass-fed meat into your diet isn't a bad thing. The problem is with the amount of processed meats and dairy that Americans are eating. While the sticker shock of local meat may make you black out for a minute, the panel reassured us that we don't have to spend our entire paycheck on Hudson Valley Duck meat, rather make it a special occasion and try to eat healthfully during other moments by seeking fresh, in-season produce.