Monday, April 23, 2007

Buy local, eat local

If you want to stick it to the man (and reduce your carbon footprint), buy local and eat local.

First of all, get out of Macaroni Grill , California Pizza Kitchen, and (gasp) Sullivan's. You want Italian? Go to Pop's or Cinelli's. You want pizza? Go to Peppers. You want steak? Go to Bin 54 or Angus Barn. All of these are locally owned businesses. Don't get me started on Starbucks! Suffice it to say that there are lots of options for much better coffee.

Second, change your eating habits. Don't buy strawberries in February or tomatoes in November. If you must have these things get them canned or frozen. Better yet, can and freeze them yourself when they are in season so you will have them year around!

Third, simply pay attention to where your food comes from. It is usually on the label. I nearly DIED when I discovered that a tin of gorgeous lump crab meat I bought at the butcher (at least it was Red and White, a local butcher shop) was from China. CHINA? My brain reels at the thought. I wonder what kind of dodgy environmental practices resulted in this can being in the butcher down the block. Not to mention the fact that crabs are basically bottom feeders and I don't even WANT to think about what they are feeding on in the bottom of the South China Sea! Have a bit of mercury and other toxins w/ your salad, please.

Finally, do your shopping at the local farmers' markets. We are lucky to have so many good options. At the Durham farmers' market, you can get fantastic cheeses, meats, and vegetables. It's all local and it's all organic. Sure it's more expensive than Food Lion, but you get what you pay for in terms of quality and freshness. WholeFoods is a travesty to local business compared to Wellspring of yesteryear, but you can find a few local items there: Counter Culture coffee and Celebrity Farm Dairy goat cheese. Come to think of it, I might just join the Durham Food Co-op given how I am anti-corporate grocery at the moment.

I am going to attempt these things over the summer, at least for the fresh groceries I have to buy. I might even try to can some tomatoes!

If every person who could afford it, made an effort to buy and to eat local as a regular practice, the likes of Super Target and Super Walmart would not be taking over the world with their ghastly produce sections!

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