Think Globally, Eat Locally

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by Gordo, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    For a variety of reasons, not the least of which has to do with quality, my wife and I have begun purchasing many of our fruits and vegetables from a local food co-op. In addition to knowing that these crops were grown organically, we get a certain sense of satisfaction from the fact that we are helping to support local farmers (the names of the individual farms are often posted with the produce) and hopefully thereby helping in the effort to preserve local farmland.
    I happened across an interesting online book review by Elizabeth DiNovella
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1216-22.htm
    of Michael Pollan's book "The Omnivores Dillema: A Natural History Of Four Meals", which includes a discussion of some of the issues surrounding our food choices. One of the most challenging points for those of us attempting to eat locally is the need to further adjust our thinking towards seasonality. My favorite quote from Pollan is "Cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing."
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've got the "It's Not Farmland Without Farmers" bumper sticker they were giving out at the Skagit Food Co-op awhile back up in the rear window of my truck canopy. I also shop at the co-ops in Everett and Seattle.

    There are also subscription farms, of course. Seasonality would seem to be a definite aspect of those, plus I think it's usual to get what they have with each order rather than being able to ask for specific items.

    You might want to change "Dillema" to "Dilemma".
     
  3. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Good on ya, Ron. My dillema is that I can't type and spell check at the same time :)

    P.S. Isn't it great to know that the 60's hippies are alive and well, (although a bit gray) and shopping at the local food coop?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2006
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Alive and wealthy, anyway.
     
  5. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Eating locally, or trying to buy from local growers, is community support. Think of it as homeland security ( I stole that from a bumper sticker); dollars spent on items produced locally stay in the community. In fact, I am more likely to buy local than buy organic (tho I will do both if it is an option!). Any item that travels from a distance causes environmental harm by using fossil fuels for transport. And I am not wealthy, just aware.
     
  6. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Birkenstocks? "Whats So Funny 'bout Peace, Love, And Understanding?"
    Keep on truckin', my sister!

    Thanks for posting your thoughts Terry. Hopefully we can all become a little more aware.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2006
  7. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    And thanks also to Ron B, whose contributions to this and other garden sites has been so generous.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Thankyou.
     
  9. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    We're very fortunate around here in being able to buy local OR organic OR at a co-op or any combination thereof. Terry's quite right that you often have to make decisions as to which is most important to you. Organic from California, or local but conventionally grown - sometimes it depends on what the produce is, as I remember hearing that some are more pesticide-retentive than others.

    And then there is choice of retailer. I actually was deeply involved in local retail grocery co-ops for many years as a volunteer, and upon due consideration of my observations there I feel that independent retailers are the players I most want to support in the marketplace. We also have summer markets all over the lower mainland where local farmers can sell direct to the consumer, but these have also become somewhat dictatorial for both the farmers and the consumers while cutting into the retail produce trade (and probably into the farmers' time), and since I want the retailers to be there in November, I figure it is best to also support them in July and ask THEM to support local farmers.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    "Also" equals co-ops being "dictatorial" and "cutting in" as well? Chain outlet I use here (closest large store) has added 'organic' sections but the co-ops still have a selection not supplied elsewhere within my normal travels - even then I have to go to nearby cities, there is not a fully-faceted one closer than Seattle or Everett (Mountlake Terrace has a facsimile with similar but smaller product mix and that is not an actual co-op).
     
  11. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    I love to go to farmers markets in my area. Also, I agree with Pollan and Gordo's suggestion about enjoying food in season. Pollan and I are both from Iowa, and I miss Iowa sweet corn and the mania we had in mid- to late summer during the few weeks we could eat our fill. I am a bit annoyed by the commoditization of every piece of produce, by which supply gaps are filled until the golden ring of year-round availability is attained.

    However, I am glad for my morning banana, too. I also am glad for the interesting specialties that are brought here from Chile and Mexico, things that local farmers in my experience wouldn't think to grow except for the outside influence. My diet is a little like my garden: lots of local, native stuff and lots of exotic fare from far-off lands.
     
  12. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ron, I suppose Community Food Co-op in Bellingham is a little out of your way.

    As to the question about "also", the short answer is yes, bottom line being that everything has an ugly underbelly; every option comes with a compromise. The choice between limited organics in a chain store and good selection in a co-op would have me in the co-op too. Just don't make the mistake of volunteering to serve on the board: what you don't know won't hurt you.
     
  13. bqmother

    bqmother Member

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    I recently joined a coop, and it offers both commercially grown and organically grown foods. Sometimes, though, it's hard to decide for the organic because the price difference is sometimes gigantic!
    bqmother
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Diverted by traffic congestion, I stopped into the Everett one yesterday to discover they no longer accept the cards from the others. I already have two other co-op memberships, I would have had to join a third to get member discount for that purchase. I don't think so! I paid 60 dollars to join the Seattle chain. Soon after they started trimming benefits, so that by now member discounts have been whittled down to something like a special day once per month. I'm not going to drive down there just for that, get my card out at the register now thinking it keeps me on the mailing list for the newsletter.
     
  15. Buckthorne

    Buckthorne Member

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    My favorite sign outside a farm stand was, "If you don't want condominiums in our fields, buy our food". Eating locally for me right now would be to have lots of seafood stew with the inner bark of spruce trees as the vegetable.

    I did enjoy "Omnivore's Dilema", though.
     
  16. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    The author of the "Dilemma," Mr. Pollan, had an article published in the NY Times Magazine on Sunday. In it he talks about how government, science, marketers and the media have unwittingly (well, wittingly in some cases) conspired to get people to think about the nutrients and the scientific components of what we ingest instead of food. He suggests we eat more plants and eat less, but no one will pay to spread that message.

    I might add: grow some vegetables, for goodness sake!

    Here -- enjoy:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/m...ml?_r=1&pagewanted=1&ref=magazine&oref=slogin
     
  17. Buckthorne

    Buckthorne Member

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    chuck,

    Thanks for the article. I've been a Pollan fan for quite some time now and enjoy his NYT articles as well. He's an interesting thinker and fine writer.

    As for the vegetables, I suspect that you're just jealous that we have so much great seafood here. It does, however, remind me to start up some more sprouts later today. They're great in a homemade popover with plenty of mayo and lobster:)
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2007
  18. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Buckthorne,

    I envy you the lobster. Here, it's just plain old Dungeness Crab and Penn Cove Mussels - mixed green salad, multigrain bread, & local micro-brew.
     
  19. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Chuck, thank you for the link to that article, and Buckthorne for mentioning Pollan's book in the first place.
     
  20. Buckthorne

    Buckthorne Member

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    There is a local grower, Elliott Coleman, who grows organic produce year round under glass no too far away. Between that and canning and freezing my own vegetables (there are still "canning" parties around here in the fall) I know that I wouldn't even have to spend all that much money to eat locally and organic.

    Lots of people raise grass fed, organic meats. In fact, in Maine, there's a fairly large group of organic farmers, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assoc., (M.O.F.G.A). There's an absolute mountain range of Ivy League ex-hippies in my neck of the woods.

    Gordo - I just had Dungeness crab for the first time over the Holidays. It was super. Here, we have little crabs and a big peice is about the size of a nickle. I made it on a bed of shaved fennel with a spicy mayo dressing. Wow.

    Many of the days here are in the single digits, temperature wise, and often 10-15 below upon waking. Fantastic and thick sheets of ice are piled up on the shore, sometimes more than 4' high. This is what I call sausage making weather.
    Tonight, it's lamb sausage with lentils (okay, okay I know lamb is out of season but you try living here). The fire's going and the snow's about to come:)
     

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