So last night, I watched Lions for Lambs with my family, and essentially, it's a movie about the war in Iraq and all of the political "schemes" behind it, and so on. To say the least, it's a very liberal movie (it was directed by Robert Redford) and I'm not liberal. In fact, it's kind of hard to deny that I'm anything but conservative. But besides my political beliefs, it got me to thinking about politics and its connection with food and economics.
It's seems to me that whenever food is brought up, in regards to politics, most people think of people who are obsessed with eating organic and saving our world from global warming and so on and so forth. Well, I'll tell you right now, I'm not like that. I mean, I'm all for preserving our world; it's a beautiful place that shouldn't be wasted, but there's much more behind eating organic or eating local food than just health benefits. I'm hoping that once you read this you'll be more willing to reconsidered organic and locavore eating, since the hippies put you off.
First, some definitions. Being a locavore means that you don't eat food which hasn't been grown within one hundred miles of your home. You tend to get your produce from farmers around you, and do the best you can to get meats that are grown close as well. Same with all other food groups. While this may seem extreme to some people (and in some cases it can be), there are some good things about it. For example, if you have children, you can help explain to them that food doesn't in fact come from the grocery store, and it's not from neatly piled stacks. It's actually grown in the ground and people worked hard to get them the food they need.
Also, with the "economic crisis" that we're in (I put that in parenthesis because you may not agree) eating food locally helps to stimulate the economy that you are living in. By helping those farmers around you, you in turn are helping yourself. If you have a small business, you should know this better than anyone: as soon as the small business owners begin to disappear from a town, your economy is shot because you will be losing jobs within your community. So even if you're decide not to eat locally to eat better food, do it so that you can help you economy from going bust.
There is also the benefit that you will truly be eating better food if you eat locally. What a lot a people don't realize, or what they won't admit to themselves, is that when you buy produce in your local grocery store, most of it is traveling an average of two THOUSAND miles before it reaches you. If you don't realize what this means, I'll explain it to you. The fact that your food must travel so far to reach you means that the food is picked green before it's fully ripe so that it doesn't bruise while travelling. Well, that doesn't sound to bad right? Wrong. In order for you to get ripe fruits and veggies, some chemicals are applied to it to get it closer to that point, or in some cases nothing at all. So when you pick it up, you're getting unripe produce that won't be as good.
Also, because of the advance technology within the United States, we do something called genetic engineering. As far as food is concerned, this means that we can choose seeds and make modifications for food so that it will be, for example, firmer or more round or any number of things so that they will travel better. This means that while you might get a tomato that looks prettier, you're usually getting a tomato that's completely tasteless. You might as well be eating cardboard for its taste.
So, here are a couple of things to remember, as far as locavores go, first you will be purchasing food that tastes better and looks better, plus you have the added bonus of helping the economy around you, and when you support your local economy, you will in turn begin to help the American economy. I know that it sounds kind of silly and too far off like, "How can my purchasing fruit help the American economy?" But it does! Just as any economist; when you add up all of those little economies, it makes one big one, and when the small ones are healthy, the big one will be too.
So, to sum all things, I hope that my political rant hasn't put you off, and I hope you will reconsider buying some of the local produce around you. If you don't know where you can find any, trying googling farmers markets around your home town or you can trying google your state with "organic" next to it. There are a lot of things that you can do, so go look some stuff up. Use Google or whichever search engine. Learn more about your community and help your children to learn about it too. I hope that you have a great weekend. :)