Moving toward local eating: Intro

Choosing vegetablesIf you’re new to this whole “local food” thing, it can be pretty overwhelming.  You read blogs of people who raise and butcher their own livestock. People who haven’t eaten an out-of-season fruit for eight years.  People who tally every food mile.  People who don’t eat anything with a bar code.  Ever. And it’s kind of intimidating.

I was thinking back today over the last…I don’t even know how many years, because I don’t know how to start counting.  In the late 90s, I was trying to eat more organic food and to buy from non-chain merchants, but I couldn’t afford much. Then I switched to grass-fed and/or free range meat and eggs.  Then, around 2005-6, I really started getting on the “local” bandwagon. And in November, 2007, I started this blog. (Yikes – I’ve been blogging over 3 years?) In 2009, I started Preserving Traditions.

Along the way, I went through a bunch of different phases.  I also went through most of the phases for different foods at different times. So, for example, I think I started with produce and eggs first, then moved to canned goods, then meat, then dairy.  I circled around and back several times on several of them and am still settling into what feels “right” for each one.

There’s some sense of progression or order to these steps, but there’s a lot of circling. And I’ll also point out that there isn’t one “best end point.” For some things, buying a locally-produced version may always make the most sense in terms of price, time spent, and taste.  There’s no shame in that – we need to keep local food production facilities open and working, because let’s face it…most of the US won’t be able to grow and can all their own tomatoes, let alone all the rest of the food we eat.  So enjoy your Dei Fratelli.

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting my observations on several aspects of local eating.  Topics will include:

  • Awareness
  • Virtual locavore
  • Finding substitutions
  • Storage
  • Grow your own…or not
  • Tropical blindness
  • Deprivation…and delight
  • Summary




  1. shortystylee said,

    January 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I wish I had read a post like this when I first started my journey towards eating more locally and/or sustainably. I’ve been two a couple Preserving Traditions classes and workshops that you’ve put on, and this would work great for lecture and open discussion.


    • Emily said,

      January 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

      Oooh, good idea…I will see if I can work that into the schedule…

    • Emily said,

      January 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Here’s a question for Jessica and others. If I were to try to take this message to a group who a) hasn’t heard the “eat local” exhortation yet and b) is read to, what specific groups should I contact?

      I’m thinking things like “moms’ groups” or food groups that don’t have a local focus, because this would be a pretty basic intro.

  2. shortystylee said,

    January 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I think the “mom’s groups” would be a GREAT idea. I think many of the “mommy blogs” I’ve seen are more about (no offense) couponing and saving money. Many people don’t realize that you can save money AND eat better food by eating locally.


    • Emily said,

      January 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

      Do you know of any in the Ann Arbor area?

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