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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Loca-Voracious

About three years when we were last living in BV I was reading about the locavore movement; eating only foods grown locally (in 100 miles of your house). Scott and I started talking about it, the writer lived in Kentucky. It was January. I looked out our window at the cold desolate land that our Colorado landscape offered us and thought, 'What could possibly grow here?' I jumped up from my warm spot on the couch and dug through our pantry, refridgerator, and freezer to find what we had that had been produced locally. What did I find; elk and honey. Everything was from somewhere faraway. Bread from Ohio, coffee from Sumatra (via Seattle), sugar from Hawaii, etc.
This week we are working our way through a loaf of Eco-friendly wheat bread, as it is called on the package. What does eco-friendly mean? I flipped it over and began reading, this bread was made with wheat that was grown using sustainable methods in Idaho. Sounds good, but what was the address on the package? This bread apparently hailed from Wisconsin. Does that mean that wheat was shipped from Idaho to Wisconsin? Or does the company just come out of Wisconsin? Or was the plastic bag made in Wisconsin? Either way standing in my Colorado kitchen that loaf had done a lot of traveling before it became my toast. I stand there feeling defeated. But, it was on special, i say to myself. And it's eco-friendly. Whatever that means.
We moved back here in late July, knowing the long winter ahead and the soon coming inavailability of local produce I went pioneer woman and 'put some food up.' A friend hooked me up with a deal on peaches, we now have peach jam for Christmas presents. I froze a box of tomatoes, so we don't need to buy canned tomatoes probably until January. I did the same with a box of roasted chilies. This same friend told me about a farmer who would sell me his seconds for pretty cheap, I was thinking apples. But the last week that the farmer's market ran I was too tired to think about it.
Am I a locavore? I don't know. If we truly chose to live that way, we give up flour, sugar, tea, coffee, and a host of other things. If you want grains you needs to move to the midwest, if you want fruit you need to move to California, if you want coffee you need to move to Indonesia, and the list goes on. Last week I stood in the produce section and stared at the peppers, some where from Canada (What business does Canada have growing peppers?) and some were from Mexico. Which is closer? I went for Mexico, because they were cheaper, and to get to Mexico I only have to drive through half of CO and New Mexico and to get to Canada I have to drive through the other half of CO, Wyoming and then Montana. And who knows what part of Canada they are from, Saskatchwen or British Columbia? You could say, 'just don't buy the peppers.' But I was making chili from all the tomatoes and chilies I put up....
So what if I do switch to all local all the time? What happens to that Ecuadorian farmer who is dependent on my purchasing of his bananas to feed his family? Not to mention that in this climate I will probably have scurvy by March.
I think the call is to be conscious. Buy local when I can, when it doesn't shoot an impossible hole in my pocketbook. Maybe instead of supporting Starbucks I can support the local roastery. Maybe I can choose products that are only one state away instead of several?

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