How your actions can help the Planet, Mother Nature and Our shared future as Humanity
Yogi’s for the Solution
Life as a Locavore
By Laura Jones-Miller
A locavore is a person interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market. The definition of “local” food is food grown within 100 miles of where it’s purchased or eaten. The locavore movement was started as a result of interest in sustainability and eco-consciousness which is a growing movement in a changing world.
As I have mentioned before, I spend a lot of time reading what people write on blogs and social media sites…not because I am lacking in things to do (just the opposite really), but because I, along with many others, am part of a growing group of people who feel great concern for our changing planet, for the decreasing face to face social interaction among people, and for the enormous loss of earth based jobs, such as small farmers, fisherman, etc., due to corporate take overs. Everyone seem to have a lot of ideas involving what everyone else should be doing…Maybe it’s time to start taking some personal responsibility for some of the solutions. Here are some very “do-able” suggestions for becoming part of earth respecting solutions!
1. Shop at your local farmers market. Instead of running to the grocery store every time you need produce, , grab your reusable bags and sprint or pedal over to your local farmers market to buy up delicious in season fruit and vegetables…win, win!!! …fresh…local…fun! Remember, when we shop local we allow local farmers to grow…which means they can hire more help…so we are also responsible for creating more jobs.
If you need suggestions on how to get started…Lucky you!…warm weather months are the best time of year to get started!…
2. Choose five foods that you can buy locally (remember – these foods should be grown within a 100 mile radius…If you are not sure about where the food came from…ask!) . A good way to get a feel for what’s grown locally is to figure out what your area is best at growing. I’m in Southern California so we have tons of tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, berries, melons, artichokes, citrus fruits, and asparagus. Choose five foods and commit to eating those locally for a while, so that you can get a handle on being a locavore in a manageable way. Stuck for ideas? Try looking for local cheese, eggs, dairy, potatoes, in-season tomatoes, or root vegetables like carrots and onions. These are common locally grown and prepared foods..
3. The CSA local fresh produce delivery program is a fabulous program…and again because of the delivery service, helps create more jobs. This service costs a bit more but is great for people who don’t have the time to shop the local farmers market Sign up for a CSA. The term CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a fantastic way to support a local farmer and get fresh, local produce at the same time. You pay a subscription (usually either weekly or quarterly), and receive a weekly box of produce of what’s in season at the farm. Want to find a CSA in your area? Check out “Local Harvest”. It’s fun too because it’s like a great big produce surprise box!
4. Can (better yet ferment), freeze or dehydrate! One way to be a locavore year-round is to preserve food while it’s in season. Is there a glut of blueberries at your market? Buy when they’re on sale, freeze them, and use them for muffins or jam. Canning is not rocket science…local classes or instruction books can teach you how to can safely.
5. Your contributions benefit you and your family as well. Locally grown produce is fresher. While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in moving around or cold-stored for days or weeks… produce that you purchase at your local farmer’s market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value. Also, local food just tastes better. There is no need to argue that point. The longer produce can remain on the tree or vine, the sweeter and more flavorful it gets.
6. Eating local is better for air quality and pollution than eating organic…shorter travel time to transport produce means less fuel used…it’s as simple as that.
7. Buying local food mean we are eating foods in their season which is more cost effective … when we eat food in season. When we eat foods while most abundant they are least expensive.
8. Local food often means greater variety. When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance and will have a shorter shelf life… the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket. Supermarkets sell sturdier produce with a longer “shelf life”. Local farmers often try new crops …fun experimental crops with new types of produce you’d never see in the store…things like figs (super short season and shelf life), dates (remember a while back when Ali showed us a myriad of different types od dates from the farmer’s market? I’m still waiting for date season!!!) that you’d never find in the grocery store…
If you are concerned about our earth and the environment, eating local means you are taking personal responsibility…one person can make a difference! Your participation can also mean more for the local economy. So, lets all try to become yogi’s for the solution!
Namaste and here’s to “our towns”! xoxo, Laura