part 2, Regional Awakening
Without a doubt its almost impossible to limit your foods to only those from your neighborhood especially when we are living in an urban environment, but that doesn’t mean we have to disregard this practice of eating local completely.
It starts with awareness.
Through the agricultural and industrial revolution we have become increasingly more distant from our environment and while some of us use air conditioning all year and never spend extended periods outdoors in the elements, our ways of consuming food are far from being in harmony with the ecosystem we are inherently involved with. I believe there is an underlying benefit from cultivating this regional awareness as it brings us closer to the planet and deepens our relationship to it.
When walking through a grocery store or health food store we are bombarded with adds and fancy labels trying to sell us something. Not that all of these foods are bad but there seems to be many trends and fads with the latest superfoods from near or far and what they may do for us. My way of navigating this subject is to become focused on the foods growing closest to me which can be much more nutritionally interesting and also tend to be the freshest available. So here are a few tips to gain experience and an understanding for your local environment and the edible treats it has to offer.
- Search online or find a book on local ecology and edible plants then spend more time in nature and deepen your sense of the environment.
- Join guided nature walks where time can be taken to identify the different plant species while gaining knowledge from the guide.
- Visiting local farmers markets is a great way to begin identifying what is being grown close to home. It feels different than walking through a grocery store as the you notice the vegetables and fruits are not perfectly shaped and colored but rather unique and much more interesting.
Foraging and shopping at local markets help to lessen the carbon footprint we are leaving behind with every purchase so it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario. Even if we can make only a few choices to eat food grown close to home we lessen the impact of emissions and environmental damage creating momentum in a progressive direction.