Part of the “Moving toward local eating” series
Which of these is the most important? For me, awareness, followed closely by enough experience to know what I can and can’t do as far as a local diet goes. Figuring out what is and is not essential. For me…I love me some avocados, and they will be the last thing I stop buying from afar. For my sweetie, it’s probably raisins. Carrots are also critical, but I can’t grow them worth a darn and they are actually very difficult to find locally – and when you do find them, they are tiny and outrageously expensive. I’m not even very good at storing them yet, but I need to find a way to do so, because we eat carrots every single day and I’ve not yet found something to replace them in all their uses.
It’s also been important for me to learn when to back off. Buying instead of growing my tomatoes, especially for pizza sauce, is a great option. Salsa is still expensive enough that I’ll make my own, but good tomatoes are so readily available, I’m happy to buy them rather than to grow and process my own. Sandwich bread is another one of those things. I’ve made a hundred loaves of bread in the last few years, and I don’t think we’ve ever finished one. Ever. They always get moldy or stale because something gets in the way of eating it. And at this point, I don’t really care. I buy Aunt Millie’s, which is baked in Jackson, probably from high plains wheat, but I’m not even sure about that. I can make an OK loaf of sandwich bread, but the main sandwich-eater really just likes his pre-sliced loaf. Which is fine by me; one less thing I have to make at home. I also don’t worry too much about rice being our main grain at home at this point. We’re eating a lot more potatoes now that I’m growing them, but rice is another thing I’m content to buy in big bags shipped across the country as long as I may.
If I have any advice through all this, it’s simply to start somewhere, push yourself a little bit, and don’t kill yourself doing it. Sourcing at least part of your food locally is vitally important, to keep your neighbors employed and to ensure there’s some food supply you can get your hands on without the need for a bazillion gallons of oil and three international treaties. “Some” is better than “none,” and “a lot” is better than “some.” Just keep in mind that you have to sustain your sustainability, and keep enjoying a nip of chocolate if that’s what keeps you happy. 🙂