Steamboat talk to focus on sustainable groceries
March 26, 2012
When sustainable foods advocate and food store owner Pete Marczyk goes grocery shopping, he votes with his wallet toward greater sustainability in the food system.
Marczyk said he passes by 99 cent per pound chicken or pork because he knows ranchers cannot raise an economically sustainable product at that price. To raise chicken or pork to sell at that low price, ranchers often have to mass-produce and warehouse animals, as well as treat the poultry and swine with too many chemicals and drugs, Marczyk said.
"All natural meat, free range, grass fed, organic — shopping nowadays seems to require a degree in farming," Marczyk said, who has been president of Marczyk Fine Foods for the past 10 years. "How do you know when the truth is on the label, and when it's just a bit of a stretch?"
The successful Denver grocer will be in Steamboat Springs to present "Buying Sustainably at Your Grocery Store" as part of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council's Talking Green educational series. The event starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Bear River Bar & Grill across from the gondola at Steamboat Ski Area.
The grocer said his talk also could be labeled as "99 cent pork is no deal."
"People ask all the time after presentations, 'How do I make a difference?'" Marczyk said. "We always answer, 'vote with your wallet.' Don't be seduced by that cheap chicken or 99 cent pork. American farmers, after being encouraged to plant from fencepost to fencepost, and subsidized for doing so, have found that it is still hard to make a buck. And the farmers who are breeding and raising animals are equally challenged. The best way to change the system is to buy from the producers who share your values."
The gourmet grocer and former financial consultant grew up in a rural Massachusetts and raised chickens as a kid. He co-owns two markets in Denver with his wife and brother. In the Marczyk Fine Foods meat department, the slogan is "the truth is in the taste."
Marczyk has been called "Denver's most eloquent grocer" by the Denver Post. In Steamboat, he'll talk about why and how to buy sustainably and why it matters to a family's health. He'll discuss where the breakdown in sustainability occurs in food systems and how to support sustainable practices through consumer food choices.
The educational community event is co-sponsored by YVSC, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., New Power Fund and HomeLink Magazine.