Saturday, February 16, 2008

You Don't Have To Be A Yokel To Buy Local

Tonight I'm going to depart from my usual witty dialogue and get a little serious. I have recently been reading the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and MY LIFE HAS BEEN CHANGED. I kid you not-- this is the most life-changing book I have read since the Bible. Most of you know that I am not easily excitable nor prone to gushing. However, I will gladly overthrow any reservation and unabashedly promote this highly readable tome.

The author (who happens to be one of my favorite novelists) talks about the year her family decided to eat only local produce and meat. She intersperses her descriptive and lust-inducing gardening stories with commentaries about what is wrong with America's current food situation and how organic, local farming is the way to go. She never preaches, but rather only presents the facts for you to make the logical conclusions. I have never been one to really care about organic food, and still am not completely on that train yet, although I'm close enough to the tracks to jump on at any time. However, the plea for consumption of local goods swept me away. Read the next paragraph from her book (p.121) about the organic goods you may be purchasing.

"Furthermore, the paper trail of organic standards offers only limited guarantees to the consumer. Specifically, it certifies that vegetables were grown without genetic engineering or broadly toxic chemical herbicides or pesticides; animals were not given growth-promoting hormones or antibiotics. "Certified organic" does NOT necessarily mean sustainably grown, worker-friendly, fuel-efficient, cruelty-free, or any other virtue a consumer might wish for."

Buying organic goods IS NOT ENOUGH. Knowing where you food comes from is a mighty powerful thing. I encourage all of you to look into local products in your area and to read the book for more about why it is so important. Jess has started to read it as well and we have been inspired to join a CSA farm (community supported agriculture). Once a week, we will be picking up a box of produce from Take Root Farm, which is close to our place. Delicious, organic vegetables and fruits coming from a known source that supports our local economy. I impassionately implore each of you to think about what YOU can do to buy local.


Maude said...

I look forward to reading the book. Count our family in! I've been tweaked by the "buy/eat local" for several years but haven't truly followed through until now. Given global warming, etc., etc., I'm more more ready to do my part. Let's encourage more!

Anonymous said...

Put this book on my birthday gift list, please. Also am interested in a book called Plenty by Alisa Smith & JB MacKinnon. It's about a couple in Vancouver that decide to follow a 100 mile diet for one year. Everything consumed is grown in 100 miles of their residence.

Maybe Dad and I are supposed to buy a farm!