I have been reading an immense amount of literature from many points of view about local eating and living. And it’s pretty obvious by reading only a couple posts where I stand, but I thought I’d take a moment to explain the reasons (for me) why.
I also thought it would be a good time to revisit some basic ground rules about my speech and content within the blog. I know I can sometimes go a little nutty about things for which I am especially passionate, so on occasion I will write a version of this post as it needs to be revisited.
First thing: I do not consider myself any sort of expert on any subject, especially not food or health. I am a relative newcomer to healthy choices and while it might at times seem like I am declaring myself the end-all authority on a subject, I am not. I only write from my own experiences or the research I have performed. The choices I make (and advocate) fluctuate and refine as my knowledge and circumstances insist.
Second thingy: I do not make judgments on a person for whatever choices he or she makes for him or herself. In fact, all I ever aim to do is provide the same information from which I make my choices to a mostly nameless and faceless audience. I welcome diverse opinions and facts that may influence my further choices. It’s how I roll.
Third thingydingy: I believe in the social welfare of all people and I also believe that being monetarily poor should not equate to being the subject of corporate food testing. In my opinion, ingesting food is the single most important exercise we perform every day (or most days anyway) and I believe it is imperative to give food (and those that grow it responsibly) the respect it deserves.
There are so many reasons to choose local food that I think it is difficult, sometimes, to choose just one. I think this can make a person nervous, especially when first deciding to take the plunge out of corporate, global living and instead directly into one’s community.
The first and foremost reason I choose to shop locally is for reasons of accountability. At the farmer’s market (or even better, at the farm) I am able to connect a face to the food I will be eating. The accountable farmer can’t sustain irresponsible farming. When the local farmer has toxic runoff, he goes out of business. It’s that simple.
The second reason (and almost equally as important as the first reason) is to support the political agenda of my community. When I support Farmer A, who carries a similar system of beliefs for humanity as do I, then my spending dollar becomes far more valuable.
For instance, suppose I am an advocate of equal rights for gay people. If I shop at a corporate establishment that has made effort to not advocate equal rights for gay people, then I am actually working against myself (and my community), allowing the corporate dollar to render my hard-earned dollar worth less than it already is. No es bueno, yo! Not for me, anyway. I – like everybody – work hard for my money. I hold a steadfastly passionate position for the good of mankind and I want to support businesses that support (or at least not hinder) the greater good.
Now, if there is a corporate establishment big box store that does support my political agenda, then I would also support them. The only problem for me is accountability, and so for me I prefer to shop regionally than nationally if possible.
For me it’s sort of an accountability listoff:
- Grow it /make it myself. If not available then:
- Direct to farmer. If not available then:
- Farmer’s Market. If not available then:
- Local Market. If not available then:
- Local Chain. If not available then:
- Regional Chain. If not available then:
- National Chain.
If you had a close friend who lived in, say, Wyoming and you lived in, maybe, Mississippi, how long would it take for the accountability to start to fade? You and your friend may still love each other, but your situations and needs, at some point, start to drift and what might be beneficial to you, in Mississippi, would be unreasonable for friend in Wyoming. After a while, the friend in Wyoming might decide it’s not important for you to know certain information that is not relevant to your friendship. Then it becomes “just business.”
Now on occasion it’s not unreasonable to need something that you can only get at a box store. This is life, after all, and situations occur where you need x and y, and since we do live in a global market these things become available and we get accustomed and it just happens. So then, you know, you just have to do what you have to do. In fact, if that day is every day for you, then it is – no matter how much I may disagree – in fact, your choice. And I support that as well.
Some local food enthusiasts are pretty hardcore, but me? I’m somewhere less than hardcore but more severe than average. I still eat bananas even though they are not native to New England. I like bananas. I don’t want to give them up, so I don’t. Instead, I purchase organic bananas at a locally-owned brick & mortar market. That’s still totally doable in my book.
Basically, if you’re thinking of making a lifestyle change to make the bulk of your purchases on the local scale, then take it one thing at a time and refine as necessary.
With all that said, I found some great links on local eating… maybe you shall like? yes?