Thursday, July 5, 2007

Eat Local

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


Barbara said...

Animal, vegetable, miracle : a year of food life by Barbara Kingsolver AND
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon

are two books which just came out and help interested folks think through where they stand/want to stand on this issue. We are involved with our local CISA chapter, mostly through membership fees. There are some food bank farms in the area, and, I guess, it makes sense to share a membership.

Adam said...

Buying New Jersey tomatoes will help my local farmers :-).

I just finished reading "The Wal-Mart Effect" by Charles Fishman, which dedicated most of a chapter on how you're able to get a pound of salmon for $4.84 at Wal-Mart. Every day. Interesting read, and not just for food-related items.

Jacob said...

on the output side of things, check out this blog for some ideas about minimizing trash.