Friday, July 27, 2007

Why are YOU taking the challenge?

Lis asks, "I'm curious to hear everyone's motivations for taking on the challenge. What motivates you? what do you hope to gain? how are you interpreting 'eat local'?"

Share your thoughts here.


Jenn C said...

For me, its about coming full circle. Heritage, tradition, self-reliance, community. As a child, when I visited my grandparents on our NE Iowa family farm (homesteaded in 1855), eating local wasn't a fad, it was life. If they didn't grow it, harvest it, fish or hunt it, preserve it in some way, or trade it with the neighbors, basically we didn't eat it. Exceptions included a very few items: coffee, sugar, baking soda and powder, a few spices (their N European culinary traditions didn't include much in the way of food seasoning beyond the basics). Life was fresh, delicious, simple but incredibly rich.

But I was really a town kid, and we only got up to the farm a few weeks a year. As my grandparents got older, they had a harder time maintaining a diverse farmstead, so the dairy cows, then the beef cows went, and so on until the farm became a hollow echo of its halcyon days. It stands there, empty now, waiting, my cousin commuting over after his day job so he can still farm a standard soy/corn rotation until we sell out or someone moves back. Family farms are slowly dying out in this brutal economic climate where we aren't willing to pay the true cost of our food.

Meanwhile, after years of supermarket fare, I've been working my way back home a few states west - backyard gardening, farmer's market shopping, purchasing community-supported agriculture share, a 6-month apprenticeship in ecological horticulture at the University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

It's amazing what you can find when you start looking, and tasty, to boot. For example, last night, a friend brought me a dozen eggs from the neighbor who has chickens, and I shared some beautiful Santa Rosa plums I had gleaned from a tree in the Avenues (I live in the Bryant neighborhood near the U).

The Eat Local challenge is a natural extension of my ongoing journey (though I won't give up coffee - sorry!) Someday, maybe I'll work my way all the way back to that other 4-letter state.

Trudy said...

I think it is so cool that people are doing this! I am ecstatic.
I want to take the challenge to prove to myself and those around me that it's possible.
I have this scarry thought always in the back of my day, we will have a shortage of food because fuel will run out. The mother earth might come right out and say "enough!"

I want to do this as a small preparation for those times.

Andrea and Mike said...

For me it is about the environment, health, community awareness, and a bit of self relliance and creativity as well.
Environmentally the transportation of foods from such a great distances seems excessive not to mention that large monoculture farms, GMO products, and petroleum fertilizers are really not an environmentally healthy or sustainable way to produce food.
By eating more local foods we get our produce when it is ready to be eaten, it's not picked weeks early to ship and sprayed to protect it from insects. We eat less processed foods that have extra sugars and preservatives.
This experience has been so great in getting to know local food producers as well as other people who think about food and where it comes from. It is extraordinary the energy and enthusiasm of all the people participating in The Challenge!
It is also empowering to gain a greater understanding of where different foods can come from within our community. It makes me feel closer to my community.
Lastly, it is going to make me more creative in my cooking! We've already tried making potato flour, mozzarella, sour dough starter, pasta, and yogurt. As we prep our designated cabinet for the month I wonder what will become of the potatos, apple vinegar, flour, honey, salt, and garlic we have so far! Andrea