Monday, September 10, 2007

A New Beginning

I am just about finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. This book inspired me to begin this blog. Barbara Kingsolver is a brilliant writer; you may be familiar with some of her other works, such as The Poisonwood Bible or Prodigal Summer.

I'm not going to do a book review here---there are currently 110 of them at Amazon, and perhaps hundreds of others elsewhere. The basic premise of the book is that her family goes back to the farm in Appalachia and eats local foods for an entire year. Local includes their own farm, a neighbor's farm, or a farm within 100 miles of their home.

There are dozens of reasons to eat locally, not the least being that the bulk of our commercially available food is tasteless, nutritionless, and consumes more petroleum than our automotive vehicles. The book is informative and moving, practical and fantastic.

She made a believer out of me, perhaps because she's not one of those in-your-face health food nuts. She acknowledges that it's impossible to eat everything grown locally--take olive oil and pineapples for example (not in the same recipe). But if you take the time to think about it, you can make much better long-distance choices. The book has a companion Web site for more information.

I wondered if a suburban dweller with a full time day job and could take on an equivalent committment. My gardening skills are in their infancy. I do have a "victory garden" in my yard and it looks liks the Japanese beetles, deer, and chipmunks have declared victory. While Kingsolver's family spent about $0.50 per meal per person, my total garden yield this summer has been about a dozen tomatoes and a several dozen Jalapenos.

However, I am excited enough about the idea to begin this blog and hear about others adventures in local eating. Share your experiences, your successes (or not) in your attempts to eat closer to home.

I live in Connecticut, just east of Danbury. Can I amend my diet to favor locally produced fare? What's available in my neck of the woods? Where can I get it? Do I have to "put up" my own produce (canning and freezing) or can I retain my grasshopper-ness?

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