Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Locavore"

The past few weeks of late spring have been filled with reading. I've been reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" by Barbara Kingsolver and it's inspiring. I highly recommend this book. It's inspiring me to "think globally, act locally" especially as it relates to food in my life. How is this coming about? In very small steps, until before you know it, your entire surroundings have been changed.

Our surroundings have changed recently by growing herbs (basil, cilantro, garlic chives, and oregano) and just a few days ago a tomato plant. Not having any dedicated green space of our own to grow things bothers me, but it's forcing us to get creative in the process. Our balcony is where we're growing everything and its space is limited. We've decided to grow our tomatoes upside-down. I really hope it works! There are kits available or you can create your own (what we did). Anyways, with rising gas prices that affect every little thing, vegetable gardens are making a big comeback. It's one way to help lower your overall cost of food by growing it yourself. I think my husband's heard me say one too many times, "When we have land, I can't wait to grow _______."

Since it's painfully obvious that we won't be yielding much to feast upon, we're now setting our sights on local farmers and producers. In Kingsolver's book, she makes some great observations about the importance of where our food comes from and how it affects the global economy as a whole. I have to confess my ignorance about my foods' origins. Some of my produce needs a passport to get to my kitchen. The ramifications of that reflect in various ways: petrol use to cart the produce, human labor, freshness, flavor, and overall quality. That's why buying local matters. It allows farmers to continue their livelihood, keeps money in your county or state, saves overall petrol use, and better yet the food tastes more flavorful! You may have not realized this, but any type of produce is more nutritionally sound the fresher it is. According to the FDA, fresh produce will lose half or more of some of its vitamins within one to two weeks. In this case, time is health. Let's not waste it.

Like most people, money and budgeting for food is a priority in our household. Thankfully, I have not noticed a major difference in comparing what we would have paid for produce from our grocer versus from our local farmers market. And to be honest, a few extra quarters from my changepurse in exchange for supporting a local neighbor doesn't bother me in the least.

I could really go on and on about this topic, but I'll spare you the details and give you some links to peruse instead (as if I hadn't already given enough). I strongly encourage you to dig in and see what becoming a locavore is all about!

http://www.localharvest.org/
http://www.slowfoodusa.org/
http://www.sustainabletable.org/
http://www.foodroutes.org/

1 comment:

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

We're big on local foods and now are in an EXCELLENT area for obtaining them, so about 90% of of kitchen is now organic & local. Since the food prices began creeping up last year, it seems in both the places we've been (GA & WA) the local food prices have remained pretty much the same, so now the difference between shopping at a grocery store or the farmers market is just mere cents, especially when factoring in the superior nutritional quality. The yummy taste of the food is just an added bonus of being able to support local farmers and interact with nearby people at the farmers market. :o)

Have fun going local & gardening my friend! Both of these have been bunches of good times for us. :D