What you are seeing here is a plate of (mostly) locally grown food, the majority of it picked from our own garden. We grew the potatoes, the tomatoes, the lettuce, the green beans, and Reuven grew the garlic. How much more local does it get?? :) We do try to buy produce from local farms as much as we can too. On Saturday, we perused the Arcata Farmer's market for onions, carrots, red peppers, strawberries, pears, apples, and peaches. Why all this fuss and what does "eating local" mean?
According to http://www.eatlocal.net/why.html; "When you buy directly from local farmers, your dollars stay in the community and strengthen the local economy. More than 90¢ of every dollar you spend goes to the farmer, thus preserving farming as a livelihood and farmland. This is important because as mergers in the food industry have increased, the portion of your food dollar paid to farmers has decreased. Vegetable farmers earn only 21¢ of your dollar; the other 79¢ goes to pay for marketing, distribution, and other costs." The lack of financial income for small-scale, local farms leads to large-scale, mono cropping farms getting the lion's share of the money. Mono cropping is dangerous because it leads to a loss in biodiversity which may never be redeemable, as well as many food crises. This article gives a thorough explanation of mono cropping and its dangers, among other things: http://www.straight.com/node/141020.
So back to the solution: eat local. Local is defined as a 100 to 150-mile radius. For Humboldt County, that includes Humboldt County, Del Norte county, Trinity County, and Mendocino County. On average, "from field to fork, an average dinner travels 1,500 miles!" (Also taken from http://www.eatlocal.net/why.html). So eating local not only supports the local economy but helps reduce the impact on the environment.
Which brings me to my final point: September is Eat Local Month in Humboldt County, but this is a great time to enjoy your locally grown produce anywhere. The end of the summer is bursting with a veritable rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables. So here's an idea on how to start (again, from http://www.eatlocal.net):
For one week, commit to the following:
- Spend 10% of your grocery budget on local food
- Try one new fruit or vegetable each day.
- Preserve food to enjoy later in the year.
- If you can, find some local fruit to pick like blackberries (my addition)