While farmers fight to win battle`s against big business they`re also struggling to keep the family business going. One of today`s workshops focused on what our community can do to keep family farms from failing. University of Missouri Extension Emeritus Professor Bill Heffernan said, "In this country you can have a hamburger that comes from five different countries. You really don`t have any idea where that hamburger came from it may have come from a country where the children are suffering from malnutrition." Mystery meat in your grocers freezer is one reason organizers of this "Local Foods Supporting Local Farms" workshop want you to buy your food as close to home as possible. Heffernan said, "No one in this movement says you have to buy all your food locally because things like coffee aren`t produced here." Heffernan says shipping fruits and vegetables from around the world not only cuts into taste and freshness but nutrition. "Much of the produce loses it`s nutritional value the minerals deteriorate over a 24 hour period. The real plus of local food is the quality of food you get." Rural agriculture experts know it`s not easy to get consumers to head to a farmers market or local section of your grocery store but Heffernan says the cost of buying from big chains can be deceiving. Heffernan said, "We`re paying for it in many different ways off the budget off the book ways. We don`t know for sure that it`s cheaper to buy it at Wal-Mart because you have to look at the social cost it`s not just the dollars you can trace." Many say the local farmer`s biggest obstacle is convenience. "We have to consider how much time does it take to prepare. Many mothers and fathers both work and they want to have something they can put on the table in 15 minutes that`s nutritional and balanced. So we are constantly challenged with how to make local food more convenient. Especially because people don`t know how to freeze food, can food, or even cook in the old sense of the term." That`s why today`s workshop also demonstrates how to wash and preserve fresh fruits and vegetables. Janet Hackert said "It`s still important to wash a vegetable even if we`re going to peel it. Just because you`re going to peel it doesn`t mean it`s safe. She then demonstrated how wind and bugs can transfer not only pesticides but bacteria to your food. She sprays the banana with a fluorescent spray that shows up under black light. When she peels back the banana and flips the black light switch you can see that pesticides and bacteria can penetrate a peel. Farmer say that`s just the kind of information they hope you learn to take the fear out of buying fresh from the farm If you want more information on today`s meeting or the Missouri Rural Crisis Center visit www.morural.org.