Posted on June 28, 2011 by
My month of local eating begins on July 1, 2011. I’ll be posting regular updates on my blog, complete with recipes and tales of my search for local ingredients. Meanwhile, there’s still time for some of you to join me in this adventure. You don’t have to commit for the full month – try it for one week, one day, or even one meal.
What’s the point of eating local? I hear some of you asking. Here are just a few of the reasons that persuaded me to try it.
Your mother probably said to you, “Don’t put that in your mouth! You don’t know where it’s been!” It’s good advice, and it applies to food as well as to toys or bugs. When you eat food that was grown in South America, for instance, then transported by boat, plane, and/or truck to your home in Minnesota, you have no way of determining what pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides are living on it. By the time it’s processed and packaged, a whole new set of poisons come into play.
On the other hand, when you get food from a farm down the road, you can learn everything about your potato or carrot simply by talking to the person who grew it. And when you grow your own food, you are intimately acquainted with your dinner.
Stop by your local farmers market and ask when the tomatoes were picked. Odds are, they’ve been off the vine for only an hour or two. This means they were picked when ripe, rather than picked green before turning that sickly pink-orange color during the roughly 1500 mile trip to the grocery store.
Strawberries do not grow in Tennessee in December. Sure, you can find them in the supermarket, but they’re out of synch with nature and with the human body’s own cycle. Worst of all, the year-round availability of seasonal foods has caused us to lose track of how our environment really works.
It’s good for the local economy.
How many times have you heard the phrase ‘these hard economic times’ in the past couple of years? Is your neighborhood turning into a ghost town? Have local businesses closed their doors? It takes a village to maintain a village, and an excellent way to help rebuild your own community is by supporting the local businesses. Small farms are at the very heart of every community, but they tend to be invisible simply because we no longer recognize the connection between the food we eat and its source. By purchasing food from local growers, you can contribute to the strength and vitality of your entire town.
It’s up to you to preserve your own freedom.
You can’t buy fresh local food if it isn’t available. Small farmers are under attack by lobbyists for the mega-farms industry. Learn about pending legislation that, if implemented, will limit our food choices and strangle small farms. See this Farmageddon trailer at the Organic Consumer’s Association.
So what can you do right this minute? How can you become a locavore and help save the world? Just pick one or more of these easy steps:
- Visit Local Harvest to find A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) near you.
- Shop at the local farmers market.
- Start eating only food that is in season.
- Grow your own fruit and veggies in your backyard.
- Learn to recognize wild food and become a forager.
- Fight the food machine. Visit the Weston A Price Foundation website to find your local chapter.