post from Jana, Convener of the Community of the Cosmic Person
I still like the 'locavore' idea. It sprang up, according to the Oxford Online Dictionary, early in this century as people began talking about eating locally produced foods as a trendy thing.
As a trendy thing, it soon became tainted with an elitist, farmers-markets-if-you-can-afford-them brush. And yeah, I'm not denying that the taint is real; healthy, fresh, locally grown produce is one of the markers of the increasing wealth disparity in Western industrialised countries. It's possible that to some 'being' a locavore is some kind of neoliberal merit badge.
But eating locally produced food is a good thing when and for whom it is possible. It has the added bonus of built-in paradox: I pay a premium to be in solidarity with people for whom local production, for whom eating what they are able to grow themselves, is the way things are rather than a celebrity option. (I like a good paradox, which is why I've quoted Margaret Thatcher in a post about neoliberal wealth disparity (thanks, Maggie and Ron)).
Buying local produce is a privilege and I am grateful for the opportunity and glad to be living in a city that hasn't sprawled so widely as to push 'local' produce out of range.
Today I bought a variety of avocados I'd never heard of and was happy to find them misshapen with a stripe of mottled skin up one side. Is anyone else tired of perfect vegetables? And I enjoyed my conversation with the local apple grower who said the Pink Lady variety was late this year. Her husband's birthday came around and for once it wasn't coincident with the moment to pick the pinks.
Last week, the CCP Experiment Team took a short break for a couple of nights at Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula. On the way, we stopped to buy some local fish from the shed at the back of a house on a regular suburban block. The fish was good and the peculiar conversation with the fisherman was a bonus.
Of course, nothing beats homegrown: zero food miles, immediately fresh, and you don't have to talk to the producer (unless you like talking to yourself).
So if I don't think being a locavore is anything to trumpet about, why am I writing this post about my locavore adventures? Because popular or not, buying local is a good thing that fuels my Ecozoic Living. And when I'm eating my salad of home grown greens topped with pink apples and wonky avocados, I'll just be happy. And I like to share what makes me happy.