Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Problem with Spring

Is that it promises so much, but requires so much patience! I have been re-evaluating our food choices and trying to eat more seasonally and locally. Today I was at the grocery store and admiring all the beautiful produce. So pretty! So yummy looking! I want it!! But... I noticed that the cantaloupe is from Guatemala, the berries from Mexico and the tomatoes from Canada (!). I just couldn't buy them. I compromised and broadened my scope to the U.S., but came away with just apples. Luckily, my garden asparagus has come in and the rhubarb is almost ready, but it is hard to pass up so much beautiful food. Oh, problems of the land of abundance. I realize a great deal of the world would faint just looking at all the out-of-season food. We are spoiled.

I ran a workshop at our Women's retreat discussing Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Her family attempted to eat locally for a year. I found her book really inspiring. Although, the first time I read it, I almost didn't finish it because it seemed to be impossible for "real" people. After the second reading, I began to put my "all or nothing" mantra aside and start thinking of small ways I could do this. I do have a garden and belong to a CSA. I am a pretty good baker and there really is no reason why I can't make our bread. I could stretch my cooking abilities and learn how to best use seasonal veggies. As I alluded to in my previous post, I am trying to put in perspective on how I really want to live my life and actually do it. I want to lower my impact on the earth. I want to protect my family and workers from pesticides. Food is something that is important, even if if means I need to wait a couple of more months for some beautiful tomatoes!


Charlie Talbert said...

Buying local isn’t always the most ethical or environmentally friendly choice.

Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s 2006 book The Way We Eat – Why Our Food Choices Matter challenge some assumptions about the benefits of buying food grown near home, pages 135 – 169.

The authors are not saying we should be “distantvores”, but they do make a convincing case that in some instances, local is not always better.

Bridgett said...

Tomatoes from Canada. That blows my mind.

I go like this: local food first (organic or not); if not local, I go for organic grown in the USA. Only after those options are exhausted do I consider moving further afield. I do it with bananas, but not often (older girl is allergic anyway); I do drink coffee when I'm not pregnant/breastfeeding. But I don't eat things that can grow in the US that are from other countries (Chile, for instance), and I don't eat things that can grow in Missouri/Illinois that are from California (apples, strawberries, peaches, etc). This means we don't eat strawberries in November. And we don't eat peaches in March.

It took about a year to get used to it. Now, just like when I cut out high fructose corn syrup, it's just second nature...but I could do better, you know? I could work on meat consumption and definitely without a doubt on the sugar consumption...

plaidshoes said...

Charlie - thanks for noting that book. I had actually heard of it, but haven't had a chance to read it. I am very curious about what they have to say.

Bridgett - I think I am going to follow your lead. I have trying to sort of do that, but yesterday, it really struck home. I am going to really commit to the plan. If you are interested in local/organic meat choices let me know, I can email you a link for ones in the area. Sugar is a problem for me too - let me know if you find a good solution. I have trying to use more honey and agave nectar, but it isn't quite the same ;-)