Do you know where your food comes from? Odds are, even if you live in a food producing area, pretty much everything you eat is coming from thousands of miles away. I live in a farming community growing grains, fruit, and vegetables, yet a trip to the grocery store doesn’t represent this at all. Although we grow many varieties of apples here, for example, I’m lucky to find BC grown apples in my grocery store, let alone local ones. Last week a trip to a year-round fruit stand revealed pears from New Zealand! Nothing against the folks in New Zealand, but how ’bout you eat your pears and we eat ours?
Food miles is a term coined to show how far food travels. According to this article, sugar served in restaurants in the midst of Hawaii’s sugar cane plantations has been shipped to California for refining, to New York for packaging, then back to Hawaii for serving. Crazy? Just a little.
So. Earth Day is coming up on April 22, next week Thursday. I’d like to issue a little challenge, and I’d like you to respond to what part of this challenge you’d like to take.
Eat Local for One Day
It’s not the best time of year in the Northern Hemisphere to jump into an Eat Local challenge, I’ll admit that! Even though my husband and I grow a lot of our own food and are fairly on board with local eating, I’m not sure we can do that. Here are a couple of other options:
1. Eat local for one meal.
2. Choose one (or more) parts of one meal that are locally sourced (such as finding local meat or potatoes)
3. Eat only food that has definable parts, and note where those parts come from.
4. If you were going to eat out on Thursday, choose a non-chain restaurant and think about your food choices.
Will this be an easy challenge for me? Nope. Yes, I live on a farm. We grow our own beef and our own honey. We have a garden every year, from which I do some freezing and canning, though much of it is for fresh eating over the summer. We’ve been sourcing local foods for a couple of years, so I have locally grown oats (rolled oats) and wheat (flour). In my freezer I have chickens and lamb from nearby farms. We pressed apple juice last fall and have jars of canned fruit (canned with refined sugar, come to think of it) in the cellar.
But I’ve been thinking about a menu for supper on Earth Day, trying to navigate a meal that is pretty much local. I’ll post my plans next Monday, the 19th, and I hope you will, too. Give it a try, just for one day, and think about the impact our food miles have on the planet.