Friday, March 21, 2008

How did I get here?

Like so many locavores I know, Barbara Kingsolver handed me my gateway drug to locavorism: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I loved her novels, ran out of those to read so I checked out a collection of short stories, and one story in there was either from AVM or was about it or was at least on the same subject. I was intrigued. I then checked out AVM and I was hooked.

I've since a lot of other things on the subject, and hope to read many more: Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food." The chapter on food from "Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future." All sorts of websites. Last summer I started a blog about being a locavore but I really wanted it to be a website of local resources but I didn't have time to really pull it together, and the whole point was that I didn't KNOW the resources and was trying to create what I couldn't find. Then more recently I started a yahoo group for locavores in my general area (the Delmarva penensula) called Delmarva Locavores, and we have a few members so far, including one who joined in order to find folks to interview for an article on eating locally that will be in one of our state's main papers. And she interviewed me and said she'll publish the name of the yahoo group so I hope we get some more folks.

What I've done in terms of my own moves towards being a locavore:
  • I made my dogs do it first. Seriously, I switched them to as local as we're ever going to get for a dogfood. It's a high quality all-natural dog food that doesn't just use the nasty stuff from its protein sources. It's not quite local because while most of the ingredients are local, they're send to someplace like Ohio to be made into the dog food then sent back here, but at least it's not Chile.
  • I started buying milk from the local dairy. Now, they're an industrial dairy farm, so we're not talking pastured cows or cows fed organic foods or anything, and I've only been told but not had it confirmed that they don't use growth hormones, but the way I see it, I'd rather buy truly local from a non-organic industrial dairy than buy organic from a huge industrial farm 1000 miles away. Maybe one day we'll have a pastured-cow dairy around here that's allowed to sell milk.
  • I joined a CSA - Community Organics. I went for the Full Monty: A year-round membership that lets me pick and choose from what's available including pastured beef (Oh. My. Maude. The steak we had was more delicious than I could imagine a steak being), eggs, and some veggies not put into the regular share basket. And a 6-month share basket where I'll have to start learning how to fix things that I'm not sure I've ever eaten. This is why I ordered some turnips this week: I want to ease myself into Cooking New Things, and I figured I'd better start early.
  • I've started being more conscious about what I eat, especially (so far) what I buy at the grocery store to bring home. Restaurants will come later, but I'm not ready for that yet.
  • Since I'm getting a variety of stuff from the CSA, I'm planning a garden that will allow me to freeze some veggies for the winter: I just bought spinach seeds and sugar snap peas to plant today. I probably should have gotten some regular peas as well. I'll do tomatoes and maybe a pepper plant and I'm going to try brussels sprouts and broccoli and kale. This garden is a bit ambitious for me, but I'm going to try it - I normally don't do anything other than a few tomato plants. Oh and I'll need to get a freezer since I don't have one yet.
  • I found a dairy that makes cheese, butter and ice cream. Well, their cheese and ice cream are made 150 miles from here by Amish farmers, using milk from their pastured-cows so that's 300 miles, but with regard to natural dairy that's probably going to be as close to local as we're ever going to see. A friend of mine and I are going to check it out soon.
So that gives you the background on this person who is rambling on here.

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