Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Breaking the Fast, starting a new one

If the average American eats only locally produced food you'd nearly cut your personal gasoline consumption by half. This is according to Barbara Kingsolver.

When life is busy blogging doesn't happen. I've been wanting to write about our attempts as a family to become what some call "locavores". It simply means we attempt to only eat food grown and produced locally. This time of year is the easiest time to eat only local food, I'm actually able to eat a lot of food that we've grown right in our yard. But that will change in the winter. But if anyone can do it, we have a good chance. We have two farmer's markets that we can walk to weekly, one that is a year round, in door farmers market. Both Whole Foods and Giant Eagle are stocking more local produce right now, though neither is much of a help when you're trying to only eat locally produced food. It's pretty easy to eat some local food, that great. But I'm sometimes drawn to extremes, I'd really like to get to a place where we can eat about 90% local. With this goal in mind I've ceased being a vegetarian. If you know me you've seen this coming for a while. After 10 years, I broke the fast on July 4th. Now, you might ask why. From the reading and research I've done I've found that eating locally produced food, even meat, is more environmentally responsible than eating organic food that's been shipped thousands of miles. Now the amount of meat that I'll eat is very little compared to most Americans and it's only from farms of which I actually know the farmers and can drive out to visit the animals. The one organic beef farm that we're using actually not only produces their organic beef, but also organically grows all the food for the cattle on their property, again eliminating the transportation of grains and use of fossil fuels. These are all small farms where people care for the animals. So this winter we'll eat a small amount of red meat from a farm about fifteen miles away and another one from eastern Ohio, instead of eating out of season veggies grown in Chili.

For many years I was a strict vegetarian, people thought is must have been so hard. It was easy compared to my attempt at being a "locavore". Eating local food means have true abundance during this time of year, but I'm not sure how we'll handle the winter. We're already stocking up though. Alyssa has canned dozens of jars of jam and jelly form fresh berries she's picked at local farms with the kids. We even made a really good jelly with mulberries, a tree that grows all over the city like a weed.

We'll also be buying a large chest freezer for pounds and pounds of frozen fruit, since strawberries only grow for one month of the year around here, the rest of the time we'll be eating them frozen, canned or dried. Same with pretty much every fruit.

I have no idea how far we'll be able to take this, it's fun to try something and give it a real go. I'm sure we'll have our splurges at our three year old's pleading requests.

If the average American eats only locally produced food you'd nearly cut your personal gasoline consumption by half. For those of us who drive very little you'll easily cut it in half and probably more.

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