Saturday, May 05, 2007

Barbara Kingsolver's most recent book, which I reserved at the library before it was released, has finally arrived. It chronicles her family's experiment of eating only locally-grown foods for a full year- something we've thought a lot about since hearing about the hundred mile diet last year, but that we haven't seriously implemented given the obvious restraints of our climate and- as the book points out- our current national food policy.

Some of our friends eat almost entirely local produce, living through the winter by planning ahead, canning and freezing, and relying on easily-stored foods like winter squash, potatoes, and cabbage. We make a point of buying locally- for example, choosing flour from Champlain Valley Milling and yogurt from Hawthorne Valley Farm and (I confess) ice cream from Stewarts- when reasonable alternatives exist, and we don't eat a lot of non-local fresh produce simply because we don't want to spend the money on it out-of-season. But many staples of our diet (almonds, rice, bananas, CHOCOLATE) are just not available regionally, and others we choose to buy non-locally (frozen vegetables, cherry tomatoes in February, tofu because the kids won't eat the semi-local stuff). But we certainly can do better, especially if we prepare for the looong winter before it comes. By the time I finish the book, I hope to come up with better-developed goals we can stick with for local food consumption.

I've only read the first few pages of the book, but was just blown away by the fact that 98% of the WORLD'S seed sales are controlled by SIX companies. Not U.S. sales- WORLD sales. Wow. And whenever I hear about terminator genes, I always think of them as the ice-nine of human food production....

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