Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Opened "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"

As I do every night before bed, I open a book, unwinding with every turn of a page (a real page, no digital page for me!) and relax in the literary word. A beloved friend of mine told me about this book by Barbara Kingsolver (author of The Poisonwood Bible and other great works) about eating organic and eating local. I was immediately interested, as I already strive to purchase produce from our local farm stands and products made in Oregon. In times like these, I find it is important to support our state economy the best I can and eat at local restaurants and shop at our small businesses.

Last night I was able to read the first chapter in which Barbara and her husband Steven, moved their family from Tuscon, Arizona to Steven's farm in Northern Appalachia. Through the pressures of the economy, they found it necessary to make the move and re-establish themselves on the farm, eating and drinking from the land on which they live.

Barbara stressed the importance of eating local by discussing 'oily foods,' foods in which super markets and the commercial food industry invests. This food is produced through the consumption of mass amounts of oil. Petroleum is used to till the land, plant the land, harvest the land, package the food, transport the food, and refrigerate the food in transport and in store. If each household ate one organic meal from local food each week, a substantial amount of oil would be saved.

With the current condition of our economy, we will either continue to deplete our American resources and shop around the world, or (as I hope) more Americans (and hopefully the next generation) will revert back to the region—they will eat and live in the same 70 mile radius.

Already, I am beginning to see the change. Several times this week I have heard that New York City has already invested in eating and living local, so much so, that their average life expectancy is more than the national average. Mayor Giuliani was on "The Chew" early this week and talked about how important it was for the local restaurants to purchase fresh produce and ingredients from Upstate New York. Hue Laurie was on Jay Leno the other night discussing the high life expectancy and how restaurants are utilizing state grown fare. Then while reading this book last night, Barbara even mentioned this. So my thought is—in a city that never sleeps, that is bright with lights and culture—this could be accomplished anywhere in America. And in a place like Portland, Oregon, eating local is as easy as looking in your own backyard!

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