I used to be a food snob. Elitist even. I wasn’t simply a proponent of healthy, Organic food, but if it journeyed on a fossil-fuel gobbling Big Rig from across the country, I turned up my nose. Local or none at all (excepting fairly traded coffee, chocolate & spices of course)!
I may have descended to sanctimoniousness, but I was clearly doing the “right thing.”
Funny though, how much easier it is to be food-righteous when you own your own organic farm, growing over a hundred different types of vegetables, fruits and herbs, raising pastured meats, and being able to economically preserve, freeze and can as much as you need for the lean times of a New England winter.
I’m off farm now, in a miniscule rental. My bathroom is literally larger than my kitchen. There is no garden allowance. There’s no giant freezer filled with well-nigh limitless choices in pastured meats. There are no cupboards with carefully arranged jars of vegetables, preserves and pickles, lined up like little glass soldiers of food sovereignty. While I have reasonable access to locally raised, pastured meats should I be willing to pay through the nose, produce is another story. The CSA I signed up for doesn’t start until July and the local markets and farm stands don’t have a lot of variety available at this time of year. There just doesn’t seem to be a current option for a predominantly locally sourced diet.
I had to take a step back from my ideals and realize that Organic produce from California is far better than frozen pizza when trying to make healthy food choices. For a while I felt guilty about my West Coast noms, but I’m starting to accept that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Food choices need to be made by assigning weight to factors of health, taste, availability, price as well as environmental & community sustainability. Health and taste happen to be the decisive ones for me, when I can’t have it all.
But I really like having it all.