Sunday, July 17, 2011

Learning to Eat Locally

I've been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, and it's completely changed the way I look at food.  For one year, she and her family ate locally, either what they themselves grew or raised or what they got directly from their own community, from their neighbors.  Her husband and teenage daughter contributed to the book, and the whole thing is written well.  It's a very compelling story, and although I don't have the resources (farm and farming community) or the time to do what they did, I jumped on the bandwagon after about five pages.

Several reasons for eating local and organic struck me: the cost in fuel and money of transporting food, good health, supporting the local community- the little guys.  There are some shocking numbers that alone present a strong case- if every US citizen ate one meal each week of local and organic meat and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels every week.  Hello, seriously? That's huge.  Also, 85 cents of every dollar goes to processors, marketers, and transporters.  That means that the local farmer trying to support a family gets only 15 cents of the dollar.  The rest goes to the big corporation (that's in conventional produce).

Plus, how much fun is it to shop at the co-op and farmers' market? It may be a bit more pricey than Safeway or QFC, but I think it's worth it.  So, I talked to my parents and we agreed to make some changes.  Of course we'll use the food we have, but there are some things we wont' buy again, like pop tarts.  And maybe we'll start making our own hamburger buns.  And instead of buying eggs at Safeway this week, I bought them at the local co-op, where I know they are organic, local, and from happy chickens :)

Aren't they pretty? :) I bought a dozen for $3.99, and since I had just gotten paid for a piano lesson, I splurged on a couple treats

Lemon Honey Hazelnuts and a bar of amazing organic, fair trade dark chocolate with almonds and cranberries.

We scrambled some of the eggs on Saturday with leftover zucchini, onions, peppers, and mushrooms grilled with some olive oil, and it made a fantastic breakfast.

We actually went into Seattle for part of the day, and this is my (local? maybe) hot chocolate from the Columbia City Bakery

Perfect for a wet Saturday afternoon.

This afternoon was also wet, but we headed to the farmers' market after church to stock up on some produce for the week:

Some snap peas..



Several zucchini..

Lots of green and yellow beans..

Some cheese from the goat cheese stand (this was the most pricey of everything we bought.  Local or not, this probably won't happen every week.  But I just read a chapter in the book about making your own cheese.  Does that sound perfect or what?)

And plenty of cherries.

We had snap peas and cherries with lunch, and tomatoes on our paninis.  So, we're setting out on our own journey toward more local, organic, sustainable eating.  I'm looking forward to it! :)

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