by Asinus Asinum Fricat
Thu May 29th, 2008 at 07:50:49 AM EST
What happens when one takes on the challenge to eat only locally produced food (and wine) and all within a 160 kilometer radius (100 miles) for an entire month? It's about getting back to our grassroots, supporting our local farmers and reducing the miles our food travels from paddock to plate. It's that simple. It is a movement sweeping the world.
Coined by a Bay Area group, the term "locavore" refers to people who only eat food grown, processed and produced within a 100 mile radius of where they live.
More and more of us are turning our backs on imported products and getting back to our grassroots supporting local farmers and producers. Eating local food cuts back the distance it travels from the paddock to the plate and in turn reduces harm to the environment.
Diary rescue by Migeru
How many times have you heard "I can't eat local foods because they cost too much?" Well, it's a challenge as every ingredient in every mouthful eaten for the month should come from the local food markets right down to the last grain of salt. Vegetables, meats & seafood are relatively easy. But exotic fruits, coffee, tea and many spices are virtually impossible. Forget that trip to the Asian market for that month! The point is to learn where your food comes from, save energy and keep farms from being sold to developers, or worse, turned into GMO experimental stations. With the price of foodstuffs (and everything else) going up I think it's time to alter our lifestyles now before we may be forced to do so within the next decade.
The locavore movement, like the slow food movement, is an idea of our times and should be given some consideration. The first thing to do is to join a local food group as an alternative to the global corporate models where producers and consumers are separated through a chain of processors/manufacturers, shippers and retailers. The development of local food systems is not only about environmental impacts but also the social and economic benefits encouraged through building local relationships. Get to know the name of your butcher, baker, the sales staff at your local farmer market and you will be rewarded with better produce, smiles and savings. What's not to like about this?
Google your area for existing food groups, join the fray and start eating healthily, and locally whenever possible. If there are no such groups in your area, start one, it's relatively easy nowadays with the "internets". Ask friends and relatives if they would be interested in starting a communal vegetable garden, start growing simple crops like tomatoes and runner beans, baby potatoes and carrots. At home, use every container and space available like a disused bathtub, a sunny corner on your balcony, window sills, wooden crates etc...and try your hand at growing food you like.
Another consideration is to raise hens, those free range eggs will provide first class proteins for your breakfast, and a couple of goats if you have a small plot of land (a friend of mine, an Australian, has recently bought 3 acres of scrub land a hundred miles north of Sydney, with four friends, for not much money, and are busy raising hens & sheep, and have planted a huge vegetable patch which will supply quite a few families) for milk and cheese (making goat cheese is quite simple).
During the early 20th century, the demise of the family farm and the growth of corporate farms was experienced through much of the developing world. The corner shops also disappeared and gave way to supermarkets. In the late 60's and early 70's with the growth of the back to the land movement there were increasing numbers of small farms selling a variety of products to local communities. But since the 70's the increase of multi-national food companies has increased the size of not only farms but the overall food system. And that's our mission: to start up local food networks including community gardens, food co-ops, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmers' markets, and seed savers groups. In the next few days I'll do a piece on how to start a vegetable patch, if you have any questions, post them below.