I have been hearing about the locavore movement for some time now. I was first turned on to concepts like this one reading Michael Pollan and then later Barbara Kingsolver, but still hadn’t really considered the importance of eating locally until I did some work for an activist group in Seattle. At that time I thought it all sounded great, but wasn’t motivated to make those types of changes to my life. Now I find myself wondering if starting my own personal local eating movement wouldn’t have been easier in the Pacific Northwest!
I have been slowly changing over my household to natural products and ‘greenifying’ every chance I get. I switch out petroleum based products for plant ones, I try to purchase sustainable materials when I can, and I look for fair trade labels on items I know are being shipped long distances. I’ve even banned paper towels from my house, much to the dismay of my fiance, I might add!
All of this is to say that I’ve already been trying to make these changes in order to eventually feel as though I am ‘living green’ and in a good place to fully start living locally. None of these steps however could possibly have prepared me for how difficult eating local has already, only on day two, proven to be!
I bought local veggies, eggs, cheese, breads, meats and fish…. and yet, as I was cooking dinner last night I found myself asking, ‘what about the olive oil?’, ‘are there any spices that are local to New England?’. There are just so many ways to fulfill this challenge and I suppose I have to set my parameters before I drive myself insane.
I have absolutely no clue what grows in my region versus someone elses, and I couldn’t tell you with any kind of conviction what is in season now either. Grocery stores have made it all so easy to ignore berries in December and year-round tomatoes. We get bananas every week of the year and coconuts, pineapples and mangos line the aisles as well. I might not know what the growing seasons are for tropical fruits, but I sure as hell know that they aren’t sprouting up in Massachusetts.
While all of this has lead to my new desire to eat local, mostly I’ve been interested in how diets in various regions affect people. Prior to having meats from Italy, cheeses from France and bananas from Ecuador, people ate what was available to them, and there is speculation (or proof, depending on who you talk to) that by eating what was local to you, your body was able to best process and receive nutrients. Now that foods are shipped across the world, and countless preservatives and additives are thrown in the mix, our bodies are confused. They can’t make heads or tails of what is good for them. This is basically what has driven me to become a locavore. I truly believe that if centuries of people have lived on the very land I now live on, eating to survive, I too can eat what the Northeast has to offer me.