Monday, March 12, 2007

Local or organic? Why not both?

Time Magazine’s cover story this past week was Forget Organic–Eat Local. The title is a bit of a misnomer for what the article contains; I didn’t want to buy the magazine but was interested to read the article online. It’s really the story of one man considering the dilemma of whether organic trumps local or vice versa for his habits and desires. In the end, locally grown food that was grown without pesticides (whether certified organic or not) wins. But that doesn’t surprise you, does it? It certainly doesn’t surprise me.

One amusing moment in the article is the author wondering whether people actually could survive on what, say, the Northeastern US could produce through the winter. Um, yeah. How do you think your ancestors survived for you to exist? They weren’t shipping apples from New Zealand to your forebearers in the 1800’s. Perhaps our palates now would find entirely local eating (or nearly entirely local eating, as spices and specialty foods have long been shipped at intervals) boring, but of course it can be done.

My husband and I have spent the last year learning to eat mostly locally grown foods that do not rely on artificial pesticides, and learning what the Southeastern US grows has been fascinating. The food is of amazingly high quality since it reaches us mostly within 24 hours of picking. I will be sad when our CSA stops giving us the absolutely delicious butter lettuce that apparently thrives in GA in winter. But I am also looking forward to what spring brings us in our produce. I’ve always loved the changing of seasons, and it’s very homey to have our diet shift (to some extent–we do buy some stuff at Whole Foods) based on what the earth is able to produce around us at any given time.

1 comment:

Mal said...

This mentality -- that things "can't" be done, which have been done for generations -- always makes me laugh. People are constantly asking me, "What? You make your own ______? I didn't even know you COULD make ______!" Fill in the blank with my handmade books, with homemade crackers, with soaps that I have leftover from The Summer of Soap, with clothes, pillowcases, bedsheets, and any number of other things that I have enjoyed making.

You're right, we wouldn't have apples in the winter, but we would survive SOMEHOW. We'd all have to brush up on preserving foods and to make the most of our summer harvests.

Doesn't sound like such a bad way to live, really...