Eat Local? Uh…

I’m starting to get a little uneasy about the the Pennywise Eat Local Challenge.

For starters, look at the Harvest Calendar for the Greenmarkets. Go ahead, put your finger on April and trace it all the way down.

Root vegetables and apples.

And maybe mesclun.1 Great.

So, I did some looking around on the Eat Local Challenge site, and found the following:

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.

At first, it seemed reassuring… then I thought about it more.

Wouldn’t most family farms be considered locally produced? Are there some multinational family farms I don’t know about?

And if this is the eat local challenge, why would organic peaches imported from, say, Chile trump conventionally-grown domestic peaches from Georgia?

I think for this Eat Local Challenge, my own hierarchy will be:

  1. Locally produced and/or family farmed.
  2. Locally made products.
  3. Locally distributed products.2
  4. If all else fails, organic and/or free trade products; preferably domestic, but imported as a last resort.

I still think this is going to be tough, but I think I’ll make it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  1. My spellcheck wants mesclun to be spelled mescaline, which I think the Greenmarket stopped selling sometime back in the 1970s. []
  2. The evaporated milk in my coffee is distributed by a business in the Bronx and I need that milk in my coffee to feel human in the morning. []

5 thoughts on “Eat Local? Uh…

  1. Hmmm… I find this interesting. First, if I were to do this in Montana right now, we would starve. Really. There is nothing growing here now. Well, maybe a few prarie grasses are starting to grow, so you know, I could add those to… what? I’m fresh out of that bison I butchered and dried back in October. :) Anyway, my interest here is all about the organic thing. I like organic. I prefer organic when I can get it- but I am very particular about WHO that organic food comes from. My husband worked (and still does when needed) for a local health food/grocery store. They are very big on their employees being knowledgable about diets and organic foods, and about the companies that the store chooses to purchase from. The store is very very picky about which companies they will buy from. Part of the reason for that is because in recent years a great many factory farms have jumped on the organic band wagon. This is not such a bad thing- no chemicals no matter where it comes from is still better all around, yes? If that’s your only concern when buying organic, then sure, it’s great. The problem is that it is rather expensive to get that organic certification so a lot of smaller farms, family farms, are unable to pay to get their certification. That doesn’t mean they are changing the way they are doing things or that they are no longer organic, just that they can’t have that organic stamp. I find it interesting that the Eat Local Challenge people would have organic, no matter where it comes from, above family farms etc. I like your heirarchy. It makes a lot more sense. I may have to do a challenge of my own. You know, when something starts to grow again. Maybe next month?

    Sorry to ramble on…
    Amber

  2. Yeah, that hierarchy was messed up. Maybe I’m just a bad environmentalist, but I hold people more important than, well, almost anything else — and I’d certainly buy fair trade over organic any day.

    And I agree: had I known I would have been doing this I would have canned/frozen/pickled/otherwise preserved some of the fruits and vegetables from this past summer, because I think most of our diet for this Eat Local week is going to be… eggs.

  3. I thought I posted some thoughts on this eat local business last week but either you didn’t like them or they got lost in your re-design. I’m pretty sure I read that Michael Pollan (of the Omnivore’s Dilemma) favors patronizing family, or local farms, even if they use pesticides, over buying organic if it’s coming from a long distance or a big factory farm like Amber is talking about. I think a lot of what is passing for organic these days is using some shaky practices, now that the demand is getting so high.

  4. Oh, I must’ve missed it. I’ll go back and look for it. I’m still on the fence about reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I want to read it but I’m afraid it’ll fill me with guilt and self-loathing every time I eat an imported mango.

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