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Saturday, December 08, 2007

 

Locavore's Dilemma


It was a pleasant surprise to learn that locavore is the Oxford Word of the Year for 2007:

The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation.

Now, what does a dedicated locavore do when bad weather wipes out local crops? KCC Farmers' Market this morning was missing some anchor vendors. MA`O Organic Farm was not there. Other vendors had only a limited selection. Clearly, last week's bad weather has taken its toll.

So a dedicated locavore will just buy something else local, and go with the flow. It's important to continue supporting local farmers by buying what they do have right now.

Of course, the supermarket shelves will still be stocked with greens, veggies and other products brought in from distant places, even distant countries. This is the test of the locavore. To resist the temptation of foreign kale, of distant asparagus. To make sure that local farmers still have some income while they deal with the weather crisis.

By "Locavore's Dilemma" I was, of course, referencing Omnivore's Dillema, the must-have book by Michael Pollan, now available in affordable paperback.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan

Read more about this title...

The book is about far more than eating locally, but that's part of it. From the Amazon review page:

The first section is a wake-up call for anyone who has ever been hungry. In the United States, Pollan makes clear, we're mostly fed by two things: corn and oil. We may not sit down to bowls of yummy petroleum, but almost everything we eat has used enormous amounts of fossil fuels to get to our tables. Oil products are part of the fertilizers that feed plants, the pesticides that keep insects away from them, the fuels used by the trains and trucks that transport them across the country, and the packaging in which they're wrapped. We're addicted to oil, and we really like to eat.
...
We needn't learn how to shoot our own pigs, as Pollan does; there's hope in other ways -- farmers' markets, the Slow Food movement, restaurants supplied by local farms. To Pollan, the omnivore's dilemma is twofold: what we choose to eat ("What should we have for dinner?" he asks in the opening sentence of his book) and how we let that food be produced. His book is an eater's manifesto, and he touches on a vast array of subjects, from food fads and taboos to our avoidance of not only our food's animality, but also our own. Along the way, he is alert to his own emotions and thoughts, to see how they affect what he does and what he eats, to learn more and to explain what he knows. His approach is steeped in honesty and self-awareness. His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling.

Now that the already classic book is available in paperback, it's one you can't afford not to have.

 



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