I am reading the book called “Animal,Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. I found this book at the airport while I had a 2 hour wait for my flight. I love this book. I love it so much I am only reading a little at a time, almost as if I can savor the book and make it last longer by only reading little bits here and there.
I love this book because it is so thought provoking— the main premise of the book is eating locally, buying all your food from locally grown establishments or growing it yourself. In the book, Kingsolver makes it her goal to ‘live off the land’ and try to support her family by buying their food locally or growing it at home. She discusses the quality of the food we eat and the ‘things’ companies do to keep our food looking great while it travels the 1,000+ miles to get to our plate.
This got me thinking…
I have a garden where I grow tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, broccoli and brussel sprouts. I have a few more peppers and tomatoes on my porch growing in containers. I have mentioned before that growing your own herb garden in containers is an economical way to experience the flavors of fresh herbs. I wrote about this before. I still love my herbs!!! I thought I would try eating locally to see what it would be like. Can’t be that hard, right?
I ran into a few problems.
First, what do I do from now until the end of June/beginning of July while I am waiting for my garden and container pots to grow? I don’t have any produce to pick from my wonderful garden. The farmers market isn’t up and going yet. I drove 30 miles (one way with $3.89 gas) to go to a farmers market in the St. Louis area. I was disappointed. I went in May, when it was asparagus season! The asparagus I picked up had been shipped in from California. I got to looking further, most of the other fruit looked imported too. Dang.
I was able to find a few items at this farmers market that were produced locally, but not enough to make the trip worth while.
Second, I like bananas and many other fruits that are just not able to grow in the Midwest. Strike 2.
Third, what about all my other grocery store staples? The basic things like flour, spaghetti sauce, and my Hansen’s soda?! When I started looking closely at the labels and realizing none of it was local I got discouraged. There are a few places around here that you can find locally made items, but then you get to looking at price and it becomes a whole new problem to ponder. Strike three.
For me, trying to shop locally did not work that well. At least at this point in the year. Maybe once my garden is up and growing (if it ever stops raining here) it will be a little easier for me. I would like to learn how to can so I can save all those luscious tomatoes and peppers and everything else that is nice for next year. Not only would that be an awesome way to make sure everything in my garden is used up but it will be very cost effective AND help me eat closer to home!
I really love the idea of eating closer to home, trying to buy everything that I consume from places that are local. It is much harder than I thought it would be. I just don’t have the means to do something like this at this point in my life. I am aware and I am making small changes to try to buy locally but I still have a long way to go.