Not too long ago I talked about my two focus areas of my life: Affordable housing and sustainable food. I have recently picked up Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which has been a really good read. The author talk about the many issues of our food system, primarily stemming from large agribusiness.
None of this is new, in fact it is rather old news to me, but something spurred inside of me to take a look at buying local. I once made a big push for this, but when I arrived at the farmers market and discovered them simply repackaging produce from Argentina and placing it under the “produced in North Carolina” sign, I gave up.
I think what really motivates me is that I want real food, actual real food, not some chemically, induced genetically modified, adulterated and processed food. After taking a look around, I realized something, it is hard to find real food. Today’s companies market the fact that they use real sugar as if they are somehow an industry leader, I can only think “you are proud to say “our food is actually real food” “.
The other day I was at Walmart – I know, I know – and was excited to see that they had a “seasonal foods” aisle, I rounded the corner to find seasonally thematic candy. Not what I was expecting. How far as a culture have we gotten away from our food when our seasonal foods are candy, simply repackaged?
A mental picture always comes into mind of the bumper stickers all over Asheville, NC and beyond “local food: 1000’s of miles fresher” and it is true, the food we find in the stores is a bastardization of mother nature’s brilliance aka fruits and vegetables. I have tried to find a local place to start buying milk – let’s not get into the whole raw vs. pasteurized debate – and have found it can be quite difficult to procure without driving an hour. For eggs I soon will be producing my own, I could raise meat chickens, but I think it would be easier to just find it locally. For cheese I plan to start making my own from the local milk.
I know there are simply some things I must resign myself from getting locally such as flour, rice, and a few other things. In all honesty, I love fruit so much that I don’t think I will ever stop buying out of state or country fruit, just can’t. But it has caused me to rethink things and discover the local side of my food. I think once I can get it buttoned down pretty well I can then start sharing my experience within my community, to show the ins and outs, the pros and cons.
Share your thoughts on local food in the comments