Even if you’re not particularly environmentally conscious, you’re probably aware of the plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables that are likely available in your local area during the height of the growing season. In many areas you can’t go far without running into a farmer’s market, farm stand, or at th very least a big “locally grown” banner in te produce section of the grocery store. Macrobiotic enthusiasts talk about the energy of the food we consume, saying it’s healthier and more easily digestible if we eat foods grown from our own geographical region. Which for me would rule out tropical fruits and New Zealand-grown kiwifruit and Chilean grapes.
“Eat Local” proponents cite a variety of reasons to eat locally-grown foods. And all that is well and good, but how easy is it to actually, truly, eat local? Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family tried it for a year, consuming only what they could buy locally or grew themselves. Wow, what a commitment! (And she wrote a book about the experience, of course.) I’ve done my best in recent years to eat seasonally, and locally too when I could (gardens help!), but the way our lifestyles are structured these days makes it challenging.
What about you? Are you up for the challenge? Of course, you can always start small. Here’s one way, to commit to spending just 10% of your food budget locally. Every little bit helps, and your taste buds will likely thank you.