ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends

Being Locavore

I eat “local” as much as possible – I eat food that was raised or grown or harvested or processed as near to me as possible. This does not mean I’m an absolutist, nor does it mean that I will always choose local over nothing. I have a weakness for good wine – not often a local food. In the middle of the winter, I will keep eating conventional or remotely sourced foods rather than starve (duh.)

But, in order to be a locavore, it has taken some work. I cook more than I used to. I have learned to preserve my own foods. I even strongarmed my husband into making us a kuhlshrank – a type of cooler hack that allows me to keep potatoes and other root vegetables through the winter. While the immediate startup money was steep, I also eat locally for economic reasons – I can convert my labor into food instead of paying extra for food that someone else labored. For foods that I know we will eat – potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, beans – I buy in big volume when the season is peak and vegetables and fruits are cheap.

I certainly have non-local indulgences. Wine, tea, coffee, olive oil, spices, salt. I justify eating them because they’re foods designed to travel, very unlike a tomato. I have other indulgences – frozen Chinese dumplings, mostly – that I have eaten for so very long that I haven’t reassessed what my diet would be in their absence. Additionally, while I prefer to eat at restaurants that serve locally sourced foods, it’s not a strict criteria for eating out.

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