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Friday, May 05, 2006

Eat Local Challenge

My two best, on-line buds, Birdsong and Jane have been giving me much "food for thought" over the past few weeks. I don't think Jane would mind my telling you (if you don't already know from reading her blog) that she is probably the Queen of Thrift (my mom was a darn close second...) and Birdsong is involved in the Eat Local Challenge and has provided a thoughtful discussion of her plans in participating over on her blog, so go check that out...go on, I'll wait...

Now that you're back, I'll tell you that I'm hoping to be approved to participate in this and what my plans are: I used to be a vegetarian (ok, a Pesca-Vegetarian, which means I ate fish, too) and I know I was healthier, tho' I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian, so dairy and eggs were part of my diet. For health reasons, I've been considering removing the dairy and eggs and returning to a vegetarian - I guess now an almost vegan - diet. "Almost," because I don't think I'll give up my fish. I've become a consumer of soy products (which I will exempt in my eat local challenge as I don't know of a single soy milk producer anywhere near me, and I am committed to Silk products). Other exemptions I'll make will be for coffee & tea, chocolate, whole grain pastas and rice, and salmon & tuna (my fish of choice). The margarine I use to help in lowering my cholesterol will also have to be exempted, as I will continue to do everything I can to promote my heart health, as a heart attack survivor! I may have to make other exemptions as I get into this...I'm just in the earliest of thinking on this! :)

The idea of thinking where my food comes from, and the quality of it, isn't so foreign to me...I once participated in an email message group called Positive Futures in affiliation with the magazine Yes! and there was considerable discussion of the topic then. Then, too, I come from a long line of vegetarians who grew and put by their own food. My dad always had a Victory Garden when I was growing up and I guess I got something from his genes, because I adore gardening. I now have only my little apartment balcony in which to grow a bit of salad, but I will be exploring how I can optimize that small space to add as much home-grown produce to my diet this summer as possible.

I'll also be exploring what is available on my two local Farmers Markets and at farm stands nearby, as well as farms that open up for "pick your own." A small, refrigerator-top freezer is all the space I have, but I suspect it can be better-used than it has been. And I'll do my best to utilize my local natural foods coop and local bakeries (for bread!).

Sometimes I think it's easy for us to become especially complacent about the daily choices that we make - in an almost mindless way - so this challenge is one that I welcome, if only to make me stop, zenlike, and look mindfully at the food I choose to consume and the distance it travels and whether it supports local producers.


1 comment:

Jane said...

I wish we had a co-op in town like the one you linked. Years ago, when the girls were small, there was one in the town where I lived then. For $5 a week (which gives you an idea of how long ago it was {g}) each member received a bag of fruit and a bag of vegetables. Members were supposed to work once a month but there was a nursery and I had two small children, so I worked almost every week just for the break it gave me from the house.

Having grown up on a farm, I think I'm fairly in touch with where my food comes from - even if I don't really want to think about the steer that provided last night's hamburgers. I'll be putting a garden in again this year. If zoning allowed, I'd love to have a flock of chickens for the eggs they lay. I even know how to milk a cow by hand and pasteurize the milk so it's safe to drink.

Back then vegetables were fresh from the garden in the summer and canned for the winter or stored in the basement (potatoes, carrots, squash). Today, we can go to the super market in the middle of winter and buy produce from the other side of the equator where it's in season or from the warmer regions of our own county. When you stop to think about it, we're spoiled, aren't we?