Welcome to the first of ChatterBlog’s multi-part series! We have chosen to kick off this feature of the blog with a four part series on the Think Globally, Eat Locally movement. Every Friday throughout the series, we will have a different blogger feature one aspect of this new trend. We’re starting off with an introduction to the movement for those who have never heard of it- and for those who are already a part, please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts and experiences. So without further ado, please enjoy!
I grew up not understanding much about vegetables. As far as my mother was concerned, dumping a can of VegAll in a saucepan along with a dollop of margarine was just about all we needed. And not surprisingly, I wasn’t all that impressed. Now my grandmother, on the other hand- she had an incredible garden. She grew up on a farm in Europe and couldn’t imagine not having your own little plot of produce. Green beans, cucumbers, lettuce- right from the ground to her serving platter. In her kitchen, I learned what vegetables were supposed to be like. Fresh vegetables, that is.
We (collective we) have gotten away from that in recent years. Agribusiness is a huge, efficient machine. Globalization and centralization means that you can often have a huge variety of produce year round, at low prices. Even in my grocery store in California, the most productive farming state in the country, much of the produce is from another state or country: strawberries from Mexico, tomatoes from Brazil, apples from New Zealand. And while this has brought a lot of good to a lot of people, this trend has come with its share of problems. Shipping produce across the country or further is fuel-inefficient. Large industrial farms put the small farmers out of business. These farmers sell their land to developers, contributing to urban sprawl. We become more dependent on an international source of food whose safety record is dubious at best.
Widely credited to well known chef Alice Waters, the concept of Think Globally Eat Locally is simple- obtain as much as possible of your food from local resources. It’s fresher, better for the environment, and better for your local economy. I’ve lived much of my life in an area bursting with local flavor, yet out of convenience I’ve habitually gotten everything from the local Vons supermarket, not thinking much about the consequence. That changed for me last year after having a truly amazing dinner at a restaurant that focuses exclusively on fresh, seasonal food. After talking to the waiter, who pointed me in the direction of their supplier, I ended up at a very famous farmstand in Rancho Santa Fe eating the most amazing strawberries I had ever tasted in my life. And I was brought back to my grandmother’s kitchen, determined to make this a part of my life for me and for my children.
Through Local Harvest, I found out about the various ways one can support the Think Globally Eat Locally movement. Our series will focus on Farmer’s Markets, Community Sponsored Agriculture, and home gardening. Hopefully by the end you may be inspired to research one or all of these options in your hometown. Bon appetit!