There's so much energy expended in buying food not grown, produced or packaged locally. For those of you following along with the Omnivore's Dilemma Book Club, you've read the statistics. You may still be troubled by the idea of eating organic versus local. Either way, you can't deny that buying fruits and vegetables from thousands of miles away consumes a whole lot of petroleum products.
Now, here's the challenge:
During the month of July you're going to increase your consumption of locally and sustainably grown food and decrease your consumption of imported and packaged food. You choose the level of participation you want to do.
Think of this as an a la carte menu - you can pick as many or as few items to focus on.
- produce (fruits and vegetables)
- dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
- meats and seafood
- breads and grains
- pre-packaged food
- frozen food
- fast food
What about beer, wine and spirits? Well, that's up to you. You can continue buying your regular brands of beverages or you can see if you can find a local equivalent.
What is considered "local"? Again, you have a choice. You can follow the "100 mile" yardstick, but I know a lot of you don't have growers in your area. So, for those that have few resources, you can choose your "region", whether that be your entire state or including neighboring states. One thing to do to see what's available in your area is to check out the list of farmer's markets nearest you.
Does this mean all day, every day? It's up to you. If you want to have Saturdays off, go for it. Do you want to limit it to dinners only, that's great. Set up something you think is workable for you. I want you to think about what you are putting in your mouth, but I don't want to make it so onerous that you give up. Each individual is different, so decide for yourselves how far you want to take it. Or start slow and work your way up to being more involved by the end of the month.
What else? Take into consideration how things are grown. If possible, opt for food items that are grown organically over conventional methods. Or at least without chemicals. Find out if your meat producer practices rotational grazing. Make sure your fish is acquired from a sustainable fishery and only buy farmed seafood that is sustainable.
Considering it's summer and there's lots of food in season, the produce part shouldn't be too hard to do. However, if you still must have that avocado for your guacamole and the limes for your margaritas, well, it's up to you.
The goal is to try and to let you see how easy it is to add local products to your diet and, hopefully, get you in the habit of shopping at those farmer's markets and farmstands. In addition, depending on what level you are doing, you will become more aware of where your packaged foods come from.
Like during Low Impact Week, I'll be adding a list of links to fellow bloggers so we can see what everyone else is up to. Go ahead and grab the graphic if you want to co-sponsor this or participate on your blog. I hope that with the encouragement of each other we can keep the momentum of Low Impact Week going!