The “eat local” movement has been a significant boost to the success of farmers markets, community gardens and community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscriptions. Dr. Bill Luer of New Orleans hopes that the movement can also encourage more people to grow their own tea.
Luer is a tea-growing expert who recently taught a workshop on how to grow, harvest and process tea at home. He uses Camellia sinensis for consumption, but also for landscaping, along with lemon and olive trees.
Like many home tea growers, Luer purchased his plants from North Carolina’s Camellia Forest Nursery. His agricultural projects are supported by the expertise of his wife Melissa who is a master gardener. They grow 35 tea plants currently.
Luer’s workshop at the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center was inspired by New Orlean’s annual Eat Local Challenge. Participants are challenged to spend 30 days eating only food that is grown, caught or raised within 200 miles of New Orleans. The organizers state that most supermarket produce travels between 1300 to 2000 miles. Advocates believe that eating locally grown food lowers fuel consumption; provides healthier, more vitamin-rich food; and supports the survival and financial success of small scale farmers.
SOURCE: New Orleans Advocate and The Times-Picayune