Friday, June 18, 2010
On being a "locavore": one year later.
So, anyway, late June, 2009, on a trip to Boston... Luckily, Boston has one of the best local seafood scenes of anyplace I've ever been. I began looking at menus closer and asking servers if the seafood was local. I would say 90% of it was. It was nice to sit down to a delicious meal in a lovely environment and think of some crusy old fisherman hauling in lobsters or whatever earlier that morning that I was eating right then. Yeah, I know. A little naive and cheesy, but oh well.
Over the past year, I've learned VOLUMES about food policy. It was perfect timing, too. The Food Revolution was just beginning to take root. I challenged myself to do better at the grocery store, in restaurants and at home. I feel like I've met my goals 90%, and I'm chalking that up as a huge success!
1. No more CAFO animal products.
And, when you're eating out, some restaurants simply have very few or no options for "conscientious omnivores." Now I understand how hard a time vegetarians have. Bob Evans, you need to step it up. Pizza Hut, too. You can only eat so many veggie lovers pizzas. I like to frequent non-chain restaurants, but when you're in a crowd, chain restaurants usually win because they have something (almost) everyone likes.
Here's what I learned: grass-fed beef is MONEY. And pasture raised eggs are far superior in taste to what you can buy at your local Krogers. Granted you pay more, but in the category of taste, I'll take the stuff from the farmer's market.
2. Cut back on commodity crop consumption and processed foods.
3. Eat Seasonally (if not, at least, buy organic) .
But, being an "eater," I like associating seasons with food, and I look forward to dishes that I'll make and enjoy certain times of year. Early fall is apples, pears and peppers. July means blackberries to me. And I CANNOT WAIT for the first batch of fresh caprese this summer. It isn't even worth eating if it's not made from garden-fresh tomatoes.
4. Convince other people how important the food revoultion is.
The hardest thing is to not lecture people about what they're doing wrong. That often has the opposite effect of convincing someone to change. I just have to lead by example and learn as much as I can in the mean time, so that I am armed with information if someone wants to engage me in conversation about food policy. It has become "my" cause, and I'm always ready to spread the word any chance I get. Ofcourse, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution brought the message into Main Street when it aired on ABC. That alone was huge. I think people are more aware of the issue now, and more receptive to changing our old ways.
I think the Food Revolution is still gaining steam. Blogs like Mrs. Q's Fed Up with School Lunch and Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign are bringing these issues to light for parents. Hopefully, the next generation will be more acclimated to this idea like my generation is with computers. It's just something that's a part of your life. But, I think everyone can agree, we still have a long, long way to go.