Local Food. Really Local.

December 07, 2009 :: Posted by - Summer :: Food, Garden :: Comments Off

Canada - Ontario Apple picking - 01
Creative Commons License photo credit: mckaysavage

Food has a life, a story. The environment it grew in, the people who produce it. And usually it’s traveled an awefully long way to get to our plates. I’d like to know these things.

There’s a moment, when you realize that the apple you are biting into was probably picked several days ago in a foreign country, that hits you. The moment is a collision, a crash of this new fact and the memory of picking an apple off the tree in your own yard and taking a bite.

I don’t remember when I realized that the food I was eating wasn’t from some nearby farmer. I do remember a bit of a panic, of fear, and horror. Why was my food being shipped to me when there was perfectly good land right here to grow food on? Of course I hadn’t yet heard of the locavore movement, or even considered such a movement might exist. It seemed natural to me, that food would come from nearby.

I blame my naivety on childhood. We had an apple tree, a pear tree, and several plum trees growing freely in my yard. The back yard was nearly all garden space where everything from peas to corn grew. Even when I moved on and no longer had a garden in my backyard I just assumed that someone, somewhere, had one.

In a way I hope my kids have that same naive assumption, because it means they’ve become normalized to food growing in the backyard. And the front yard. And some on the side vining up the fence. And maybe a few more in pots where I can fit them. Food, from my own backyard, eaten the same day that it was picked.

Nothing compares to eating your veggies ten minutes after being harvested.

Of course I can’t grow it all in my backyard. For one my landlord and my town have put their feet down to chickens. I can’t see a way around it that doesn’t involve heavy fines and finding a new place to live quickly. Luckily there is a local farmer that sells eggs from her chickens. For other things there is a great Oklahoma food coop where I can get almost anything we want. Literally, anything I want. Sure it costs a bit more, but I’ve found there’s money to pay for the extras once we stop buying the empty calories.

And if I can’t grow it, and we can’t find it locally, then we just do without. That’s a huge thing in our society, doing without. With 24/7 stores and online marketing it’s hard to believe anyone choosing to go without something as simple as pineapple. I’m still a bit shaken by the idea of giving up good Swiss chocolate. But we’re going to try at least. The trying will make it easier.

Quotes from Home Is Where The Food Is

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