Eat Local Challenge

I know. It's no surprise that I'm participating in the Eat Local Challenge again. But I'm excited anyway.

The challenge last year changed how I eat. It turned me into a locavore with pointed green ears. So what more could I want to take the challenge again, I keep asking myself.

The truth is embarrassing but here it is. I want to make your ears pointy too. Really, the reason I started eating local was to save the world. And as naive as that is I can't let go of it. Eating food that is grown nearby is something I can do and I have the opportunity to do it three times a day. We all do. I believe every bite makes a difference. I know it tastes good. And, yes, there are challenges.

I can't do anything about the economy, bail out packages, the war in Iraq. I feel powerless over the negative political campaigns and a thousand other things but I can have a say about what I put on the end of my fork, how it got there and by whom.

I eat local food for peace. I eat it to support my neighbors so they can be the stewards of the streams. I eat local food so I can return the jars and cartons when I'm done. So I know the names and smiles and stories of the people who grow the food on my table. I eat local food because it's real, it's colorful, it has character and it tastes like what it is. I eat it because I can. Because fields of food are little bits of heaven and poetry and dirty hands and home. Because it's encourages biodiversity and wild things. Because eating local makes sense.

I'm participating in the Eat Local Challenge this year mainly for other peoples stories though. I'm inviting family, friends and co-workers to prepare a local meal, a local snack, a trip to the farmers' market, to a restaurant that serves local food; I'm inviting them to dinner, lunch, anything to get them to take a bite and tell me what they think.

Whether anyone takes me up on the offer or not I will continue eating local with a few exceptions: organic free trade coffee, salt, yeast and a bit of flour for baking. I'm looking forward to seeing if I'll notice a difference other than baking my own bread instead of loaves from Acme or the Brickmaiden.

In any event, I always look forward to enjoying my food.


Anonymous said...

your words have definitely had an influence on me. also, i just reread barbara kingsolver's animal, vegetable, miracle. my csa begins next week and i can't wait! in the local supermarket i find myself putting items back more often than into my cart. and looking in the mirror, i've noted a new ears are taking on a more pointed look! if one hopes to see a change in the world this seems like a good place to start. it feels hopeful and it tastes really good!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

I love this post. I too am participating in this challenge - though I already try to eat as locally as I can. This gives me a bit of a nudge to try to do more, but more importantly than that, I can use my blog, and the challenge to get the word out about local eating and encourage others to participate as well.

I have come to much the same conclusions that you have - I do not know how to stop the war in Iraq, I do not know how to rain in our horrible government, I don't know how to stop injustice, but I do know that what I put in my mouth and what I do with my money has a profound effect, and it may in fact help further the causes I would like to further.

audrey said...

You're right that a sense of connection is such a great part of eating locally. In the year I've been trying to do this, I'm really amazed by what there is to learn from food. Great post.

Green Bean said...

I so agree with you. I eat local because there I see that I can make a difference and, with farmers markets as the fastest growing segment in our food economy, I see that I have real power. Beautifully put, as always.

Donna said...

Beautiful post, as always! I'll look forward to the stories that follow!

I like getting to know the farmers, too, although for me it seems like a very sloooow process. But on the last day of one farm stand I frequent, the farmer who I thought had hardly noticed me thanked me for being a regular customer. Every baby step counts.

kale for sale said...

Becky - I loved the AVM book and had Friday night pizza nights for about six months before we forgot about them or something happened. I'm not sure what. Yeah, the ear thing. It's kooky, isn't it? I don't actually wish them on everyone but it would be good if we all could think about what we're putting in our mouths a bit more. Thanks for the really nice comment. Happy CSA.

jennifer (ovc), my ELC sister pepper lover - Your enthusiasm is a great encouragement. Blog on!

I could go off on the injustices associated with our food system. And yes, I agree with you that what we do with our money does make a difference to the degree that we even know where it goes when we spend it. I like handing plain cash to a person with a metal box and I think that insures the workers and the land will be cared for and admittedly it's still no guarantee. My poker playing friend would likely say the odds are better than the alternatives however.

audrey - I learn a lot about food from you. Thank you.

green bean - I hope the farmers' markets don't get commercialized because they have so much growth though. There's always a flip side, isn't there? I love the old farmer-farmers' markets the best. I love the young farmers too though. I guess I just love farmers.

donna - That's so nice to be thanked for being a regular customer. I think I'm known as that woman with too many bags that bangs into everyone. I'm actually quite organized but you'd be hard pressed to know it at a Sunday morning market.

tammy said...

You're an Eat Local poet! Looking forward to doing the challenge with you again.

Angela said...

we are trying very hard to eat all locally, either from our own garden, or from the farmer's market. here in oregon, there are only three places i am having trouble eating locally - flour (whole wheat or unbleached - the only local source i can find is 4times the cost!), dried beans, and tofu. any suggestions?

kale for sale said...

angela - You didn't mention but I saw on your blog that you're eating local with kids! I know people do it all the time but as an office girl that's unfamiliar territory and scary. Good for you. As for flour I'm likely paying more too. I I honestly haven't compared but I save in some places, spend more in others. All in all I don't notice much of a difference but how much we can or want to pay is always an individual choice. Last year I was in Oregon and bought fresh dried beans. Really. I carried them home and froze them. I've never seen anything like them here and nor do I remember their name but they were delish. Maybe ask around at the markets. And as far as tofu, I gave it up. It wasn't much of a sacrifice and if I really wanted it I'd buy it occassionally. After having read about the production of food this year though I would make sure I chose organic and gmo free. If such a beast still exists. Good luck and thanks for stopping by.