Nice White Lady is all about "right living": examining what that means on a daily basis and a personal scale. It's not about tackling the big issues of our times -- poverty, racism, global warming -- in big, dramatic ways. Not that I am opposed to large-scale efforts to change habits or policies; it's just that I subscribe to Margaret Meade's statement "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has", and scale it down to personal, daily choices.
Take the environmental impact of our food habits, for example. It's great to be able to buy strawberries for your Valentine's Day fondue party, but what hidden environmental price do we pay, in terms of transportation? Will buying New Jersey tomatoes at the supermarket make it harder for your local farmer to say no when the developers come around with an offer to buy his land? We are used to the convenience and low cost of grocery store produce, but it isn't always "good for us" economically, environmentally or nutritionally.
Enter my new local heroes, Renee Brooks Catacalos and Kristi Bahrenburg Janzen of Real People Eat Local. They are neighbors of mine in the small, inside the Beltway suburb where I've lived for 22 years, but we've never met. In a recent interview, Renee described how for the last two years she and her family have purchased most of their produce from farmers' markets or other local outlets. It's a great website, with archives of their newsletters (I subscribed right away) and links to local food directories, food policy information and magazines.
My personal action items:
- locate local produce markets within 5 miles of my home (we live in a dense suburb, and 10 miles would probably include way too many!)
- visit one new produce market every two weeks
- plan my meals around in-season produce