Eating local foods in season isn’t a new idea. It is how most people around the world eat.
Somehow, though, in the past 50 years, it has become revolutionary in many first world nations.
In the process, a kind of dogmatism has developed around the idea.
So let me state my take on things right up front:
–I think eating foods that are local and local(ish) is a good thing. But I think defining local is not always as simple as it seems.
–I also think that eating foods that are in season in your area is a good thing for your health, budget and environment.
–I don’t think that this means that people living where I live, for example (on the east coast of Canada), can’t ever eat oranges or bananas.
–I don’t think that people who make other food choices are sinners.
–I’m tired of the factionalization that seems to be growing amongst people who are interested in food.
–A percentage of us have too many food choices while a much larger percentage have none at all. Often those of us with too many choices forget this.
Eating seasonally and locally isn’t about twee pictures of good-looking food on beautifully set tables. It’s about dirt under fingernails and people working very hard to produce food in systems that favor industrial models that are almost impossible to compete with.
It’s about people living in challenging environments – urban food deserts, the frozen edges of continents with poor solar angles and permafrost. What does eating locally and in season mean in these places?
The choices we make depend on the options available to us, and the resources we have for accessing them. Sometimes both can be limited.
But here’s the thing.
Despite all the efforts of a commercialized world that tries to position us as consumers first, we need to remember that there is no buying our way to a right life.
While the buying decisions we have and can make do indeed have an impact on the world around us, we are not born as consumers. We are first and foremost members of communities.
So do the best you can in the situation you are in.
If it’s a good one, be mindful of those with fewer options and opportunities. Don’t make assumptions about people based on what they have in their grocery baskets.
Work for change.
Tips. Right. Seems I might have lost my focus.
Since what is seasonal and local depends on where you are situated, here are some links for Canada, the US, Australia, Britain and Ireland.
And to close, some words from poet and farmer Wendell Berry:
There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places. My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts.