Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Project Fresh

Thanks to Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defence of Food, Nate and I have really tried hard to eat more 'responsibly.' I won't even attempt to summarize Pollan's argument (get the book!) but basically the idea is this: 'cheap' food actually has many hidden costs: health care (cheap food causes heart disease, diabetes, some cancers) and petroleum (shipping the food across great distances) to name just two. Pollan urges us to know where our food comes from and pay a responsible amount for it (a larger percentage of our income than we currently are). He definitely advocates farmers' markets.

I frequented the farmers' markets in our area last year but only picked up random things to supplement our primarily grocery-store-based diet. My goal for this summer was to only purchase foods grown locally for ONE WHOLE MONTH. Nate and I have decided that July--starting tomorrow--is that month.

Now I need to say here that we will have to be reasonable about this. There are just some foods that we really 'can't' go without that aren't grown locally. I still have a lot of research to do, so I may find out otherwise, but we assume that grains are not grown/sold locally. And olive oil! We can't live without olive oil. There are a few reasons we've decided to name a few exceptions to our goal.

So we've decided that 1) we will continue to eat 'taboo' foods we already had on hand in the cupboard or the freezer throughout the summer, 2) prepared foods acquired out of the home (e.g. restaurants, friends' houses) are permissible, 3) when we have dinner parties (which we do often) that we'll use supermarket foods so we don't break the bank (local foods can get pricey!!) and 3) items we just MUST have (e.g. grains (old fashioned oats for cereal) and olive oil) may be purchased from the supermarket. But we'll give up sugar when we run out, nuts (other than what we can get locally--and Virginia does have peanuts!!), etc., and ONLY eat dairy, fruits, and veggies that we can get locally.

I've told a few people what we intend to do and one or two asked if I'd keep a log of it. So--to the best of my ability, I'll keep that record here. I am not an avid blogger and I do not enjoy time in front of the computer. But I'll do my best.

Wish us luck! And Mr. Pollan--if you google yourself and have found my blog--we love you!


DarkChocolateDaily said...

Yay! I'm totally inspired by M Pollan. Also, I've forever stalked No Impact Man. Looking forward to updates on your progress!

Micah E. said...

Love this idea! A great follow up book to Omnivore's is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (a favorite author of mine). It's much more narrative-driven and provides great imagery of the challenge facing the conscientious consumer.