I’ve been listening to Science Friday on NPR for the last hour or two, and the topic towards the end was local produce. I used to care less about where my food came from; Mexico, Peru, out of state, whatever, as long as it was easy to acquire, I would buy it. But, my ex-boyfriend introduced me to the wonders of the veggie box and buying local produce both at the farm or the farmer’s market.
Gathering Together Farm in Philomath, OR is about 3 miles from my house, and the majority of my food comes from there. They have a program where you sign up for a box, and each week you get a giant tub of veggies. It’s big enough that four large people could share it, and there’s always a variety of greens, tubers, fruits, etc. You even get a giant bag of salad greens. So, Jason gets this box every week and I was enjoying better-tasting veggies on a regular basis. When we stopped dating, I missed the box and looked to see if I could register for one, but they have a waiting list almost 2 years long. Phooey. So, I buy from the co-op, or I drive out to the farm. If I’m feeling especially motivated, I’ll ride my bike.
My oncologist recommeded I eat organic while I was sick, and even now because he firmly believes in eating healthy, without pestacides, preservatives and hormones. The only downside is how ridiculously expensive this diet is.
I wish there was a way to eat local and organic that won’t make me flat broke.
The Science Friday people brought up a good point that I never thought of. Buying food from, let’s say, Kenya, helps their economy. Kenyan farmers get a giant boost from sales of greens to the UK, who get 90% of their green beans from Kenya. I had absolutely no idea that our purchasing habits effected third-world countries. This might seem like a “no duh” moment to you, but I never, ever consider how I’m helping or hurting others by buying certain foods at the store.
This revelation isn’t going to make me more inclined to buy from some horrible little country. Who knows what they put on their food to help it grow! I want my money to help my own community. So, I’m going to continue to buy local.
Of course, one could argue the whole gay “carbon footprint” thing, but I frankly don’t care. Telling yourself that you’re saving gas by buying local instead of buying food from across the country really isn’t going to do anything except make you feel better.
All this talk of food is making me hungry. Time for some tasty Swiss chard methinks.