Sarah Gilbert is a freelance financial writer; she keeps chickens; and she’s a beginning urban farmer. She lives with her three small boys and husband in Portland, Oregon, and keeps her own blog, Cafe Mama.

Excuses, excuses: Eat local wherever you live, on whatever your budget

By
January 28, 2008

People sometimes say that my local-food project is inspiring them to bake bread, eat potato-leek soup (since it’s so totally in season!), or shop at the farmers’ market. But way more often I hear some variant of “I can’t do that here,” or “I can’t do that on my budget.”

“Here” has been everywhere from Florida to New Jersey to Minnesota. And though I honor the torture of tight purse strings, I’d be willing to bet half the budgets in question are no smaller than my own. I hate that you are not living in the Pacific Northwest, where so many farmers and market owners are reinventing the meaning of “the Western diet.” If I could, I’d pack you up and move you here, myself.

But wait.

If this were a classroom, about now I’d be raising my hand so hard I’d be bouncing up and down in my seat, ready to rebut. I’ll try not to get all self-righteous on you. I don’t want to seem like an elitist. And everyone has his own point of incredulity: the place where, no matter how passionate a value set, it doesn’t make sense to adhere so strictly. Call it the bacon rule: most of my vegetarian/vegan/Jewish friends admit to the occasional bacon craving, a yen that is often satisfied by that ultimate out-of-season treat, the BLT. Ohh, ooooo, ahh!

Setting the bacon aside for a minute: New Jersey? Florida? Even Montana? You can do it. For two reasons.

A busy cooktop.

First: When we start to eat locally, we do not mean that you must draw a pencil line on a map around your neighborhood and, henceforth and forever, not go outside of it for any sustenance. Naturally there are some foodstuffs which, in a modern society, are necessary to your way of life. Coffee, maybe; spices, most probably; citrus fruits, baking powder, molasses. I do not suggest that you create such a rigid limit for yourself that those items (if purchased from the most sustainable, fair-trade, organic, possible source) should not be allowed.

And let us not forget the modern convenience of your freezer. It’s quite likely that you can get blueberries (which grow nearly everywhere in the U.S.), broccoli, spinach, strawberries, peas, corn, and all sorts of other local specialties frozen any time of the year, even if you were remiss this past harvest season. A little bit of Googling and I’ve found Seabrook Farms, a family-run frozen-vegetable operation in southern New Jersey. See? Asparagus spears! Black-eyed peas! Broccoli rabe!

Second: No one said that you could, or should, eat exactly the way you eat now, only source everything locally. I’m sorry. It’s not that easy. But it is easy, in some ways, because when you think about it, people ate this way for thousands of years without the benefit of Cuisinarts, or the Food Network, or the aforementioned freezers. And please. Use your imagination. It is not just potatoes and turnips. It’s winter greens and butter and cream and whole-wheat flour and leeks and onions and all kinds of meats, a bounty of meat. I hope that you are not a vegan reading this. I honor you, but it will be hard.

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With just the produce that’s available almost anywhere in the U.S. fresh and in season, you can make French onion soup and shepherd’s pie and cured ham sandwiches rich with aged cheese and cinnamon rolls and baked potatoes loaded with chili, sour cream, and farmhouse cheddar. You can make crepes filled with ricotta and potato gratin and salads of roasted beets, walnuts, and blue cheese. Quiche with ham, goat cheese soufflé, kale frittata.

Have you ever roasted a chicken? First you brown it on all sides in a big skillet with 1/2 cup of fresh butter, then put it in the oven with nothing but lots of sea salt and ground pepper, and then take it out and peel off the crispy flavorful skin and ohhh . . .

You will not be living deprived lives, no, you will be exulting in the rich flavors and luxuries of winter! Oh, caramelized onion and blue cheese focaccia! Oh, apple pie!

It is not for you to look to the Californians and begrudge them their winter lettuces, their orange groves. No, you, you are living in a kingdom where butternut squash turns into caramel in your roasting pan; it needs nothing but fat cubes of butter and salt. What need have you for raspberries in January? You are the sultan of garlic-braised Swiss chard!

If you’re still not convinced, I have nothing that I can say to you other than “Just try.” Don’t commit to anything, just yet, but try. With the faith of someone who has recently and for the first time ever eaten a parsnip (and liked it!), I know that it is possible.

Now. Money. I will at some point go over the past few months’ receipts from Before Barbara (it was her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, that pushed me over) and After Barbara and I’m sure that I will prove to you that my not-enormous food budget was not changed much, if at all, by my local-eating project. I don’t have proof yet. But let’s talk about that roasted chicken I mentioned.

Last Monday evening, I roasted that chicken. It cost $8.52 at Trader Joe’s; it was a natural, sustainably farmed, organic chicken from Ranger, in nearby Washington state. It was, in all likelihood, the most delicious chicken I have ever eaten.

On Monday night, my husband and I stood over the oven peeling off the crispy skin and licking our fingers in ecstasy, and then ate hot roasted chicken with roasted beets (less than $1) and the potato salad I made of local “huckleberry red” potatoes ($1), sliced shallots ($1, ish), mayonnaise, and a tablespoon of cider vinegar (an exception, not local, but also not that expensive).

On Tuesday, I made chicken pot pie with the addition of fresh puff pastry from a local market ($2.99 and I only used half), local heirloom carrots ($1), and more onions and potatoes (50 cents or so). I used a little butter, flour, and chicken fat to make a sauce, with a couple of leaves of sage from my garden.

On Wednesday, I made French onion soup using those onions (maybe $1), broth from my chicken, a little aged cheese (expensive and not local, but only a dollar’s worth, and it was a gift), and a slice of organic whole-wheat bread I baked myself for croutons (far less than $1).

On Thursday, barbecued chicken pizza with sauce I made from canned tomatoes (not local, but I hope to can my own next year) and organic brown sugar (about 25 cents) and chipotle pepper, and caramelized onions I made while the chicken was roasting on Monday, the same bread dough.

You see? Certainly, lunches required bread, cheese, milk, and butter, but I can say without hesitation that I cooked four days’ worth of meals for about $50. And they were, each one of them, better than the one before, some better than meals I’ve eaten in restaurants for which I paid upwards of $50 just for me.

Sure, I made it all with the sweat of my brow and the dice of my chef’s knife. But I don’t remember even once thinking, “Boy, this is way more work than I expected it would be!” And I never wished for Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Not me.

Perhaps you live on $50 a week, and so spending $9 for a free-range chicken seems the height of foolishness. And perhaps things would have to change in your life to make it feasible to do what I did. But oh, what things! There is a danger that your life will be better than you ever dreamed.

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1. by Hungry in Central Oregon on Jan 28, 2008 at 11:05 AM PST

Surprisingly, I am having a difficult time finding “local” here in Bend. Sure, looking online it seems like there are local growers, but finding a “farmer’s market” in winter isn’t happening.

Perhaps you could send your foodie connections to me? Or are you suggesting I drive to Eugene?? I try to avoid the pass in winter ;)

2. by cafemama on Jan 28, 2008 at 12:31 PM PST

‘Hungry in Central Oregon’ -- I find most of my local produce at the most committed specialty markets, like Pastaworks and Limbo and People’s Co-op during the winter (there’s one local farmer’s market, in Hillsdale, every other weekend in the winter -- but I still haven’t managed to get there). my suggestion would be to ask; even at Limbo and Pastaworks, where most of the local produce is marked as such, I often have to ask for help, or look for clues on the stickers and twistie-ties (I found Hermiston onions for 15 cents apiece at Limbo last week!).

unfortunately, adopting local eating in the middle of winter can mean lots of research! I found a couple of good spots to try -- the Produce Patch, on 2nd and vine, and Riley’s Market in Northwest Crossing. let me know if you find anything good there! also try the new Whole Foods, which should be pretty helpful with regards to where the produce is coming from. the more we ask, the more likely it is that produce managers will start looking for local produce!

3. by Audrey on Jan 28, 2008 at 1:22 PM PST

I’m finding that mentally marking non-local foods as ‘exceptions’ has been oddly rewarding. If chocolate or refined sugar are exceptions, they become more like treats than staples, things that I’m grateful to have access to at all. And I allow my definition of local to encompass a big enough area (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, with preference for the Willamette Valley) that trying to get my staple foods from local farms isn’t impossible. But I think we’re lucky to be in this part of the country, where there’s already so much interest in local food sources.

4. by littlerissa on Jan 28, 2008 at 3:52 PM PST

Hi Sarah,

I think for me it’s not finding local foods or affording them that’s the problem - it’s time. I feel like I don’t have enough time to do this kind of cooking daily, with my job and other pursuits.

And you’ve seen my husband and me eat. :-) That entire chicken would be gone the first night. 4 meals? Haha.

So...do you have any advice for local-curious people who are strapped for time? And who eat a lot?

5. by anonymous on Jan 29, 2008 at 6:32 AM PST

Thank you for this. I get so sick of people getting so defensive when they hear about people eating local food. Nobody’s saying it has to be all or nothing. It’s really not that hard to make a little bit of effort to start buying local meats and vegetables.

6. by Fasenfest on Jan 29, 2008 at 6:54 AM PST

So now, the conversation is well underway. And you hit on big issues, Sarah, when you talk about how time and diet has made the challenge of new models confounding. The truth is, today both time and diet has been fashioned by industry. That it has taken centuries to occur (thereby rendering it somewhat subtle in it’s transition)and offered some unquestionable good (who doesn’t love indoor plumbing?)helps me understand why finding a way through all if it can be so complex. Taking back our time, habits and resources from the hands of industry is what we have, in essense, all been talking about. But being able to do so will be, for many, the crux of the issue. We have been permanently altered by industries conception of time (24/7) and food rations (endless). And so we work all the time and eat what we like when we like and we don’t wonder (until we feel confounded or the planet is at risk)what has to give - our money or our lives. And that we live in a world where the cost of living is playing havoc with our ability to tred water does not help. Certainly, time and money (not to mention our attachment to the notion of leisure), works to disarm our efforts toward personal sustainability. What might help in considering a way back to sanity is imagining ourself more like animals in the naturally limiting world of the seasons. Even though industry would like us to imagine Summer or Spring “open all night” they are not. And that they have encouraged us to forget our lineage and live and eat by a system in overdrive does not suggest we have to. Considering a time before industries total cultural domination will give us many clues as to the ways “work” and “hunger” have lost connection to the naturally limiting world of seasons. To that end I am always suggesting we return to our homes (to the extent that we can afford to) and eat more like squirrels. Excuse me if I am sounding dismissive. I understand how complicated it can get. And that is the beauty of such a forum. We talk, we imagine, and we support any effort that might look like a way back to sanity.

7. by littlerissa on Jan 29, 2008 at 8:33 AM PST

Fasenfest,

Hi. I agree with the overall content of what you’re saying, and would love to eat like a squirrel (and have that metabolism. Geez!)

On the other hand, I have to have a home to return to. And that costs about $1200/month, for a very reasonable little home (850 sq ft) in a city that I love, plus a grandma house on the side for my mother. I do have to go to work 2 days a week to pay for this and health insurance and those groceries, local and otherwise. Plus I have some creative pursuits on the other weekdays that I think are really important to my life.

So what I wonder is, how can someone like me make this happen? Given that industry is here in our heads and in our laps, how do we work within it to peel back some of what has been laid on us? (sorry, mixed metaphors).

I think Sarah is a great example, because of her commitment and her writing skills to share what she’s doing. But she also has a job where she works entirely in her house, so is in some ways not a great example.

I am not throwing up defenses. I’m seriously wondering about how to make it work beyond the organic food box that we currently play “let’s get through” each week.

Or maybe is the answer that we are more like drops of water on a giant rock, and that the organic food box is a good step. And one more step a month or so, and one more person starting to consider these issues, make a difference.

(On a culinary level, I am totally convinced the local and organic food tastes better. So that is an angle in for some people.)

Larissa

8. by anonymous on Jan 29, 2008 at 9:27 AM PST

Actually, I’m waiting for someone to write a book on this subject! (Wait. Wait. I know what you’re going to say) But the book I’m waiting for is one I can give my young adult (20) son.

It’s written for someone with:
a)not a ton of cooking skills
b)not a lot of money
c)more time than they know what to do with, but little of it used wisely! :)
d)a need to not be a complete geek at 20 yrs old!

They need to know how to cook for one, cook on the weekend, and stay within a tiny budget without all the cool gadgets/tools/pantry staples that mom and dad have.

Any ideas where the book might be?

9. by Fasenfest on Jan 29, 2008 at 10:49 AM PST

From Fasenfest also known as Harriet,

So here are some thoughts on the matter. It is not going to be easy because it bucks up against our sense of comfort but after thinking and thinking about it all, this is what I came up with for starters.

1. Challenge our values and start living communally again. Difficult, I know, but there seems to be no other way to get around the cost of living in this city. Not so much for those of us who bought into the housing market at a reasonable time but for those of us who did not. We could move to towns that cost less and many are doing so but in Portland the options are getting fewer. In truth, few of us should really be paying more then $300 a month for our rent before utilities if we are to have a life or time to develop our interests. So co-habitating with intention seems to be a clear option. Of course there is also....

2. Boomers with the homes and gardens should invite back the kids, or someone elses kids to attempt the experiment of urban homesteading. This again will be very challanging but someone like my husband and I can offer (and have) cheap rent in exchange for a good back and strong vision for the future. It will require a really strong commitment for creating new paradigms for living since intergenerational living can seem awkward and out of step with the times. But doing so might allow you to go back to.....

3. Working no more then 20 - 30 hours a week outside the home and, if possible, less. I understand the cost of living and health care keep us in the loop but adding cooking and gardening and all this homesteading to your list is nearly impossible when you are so committed out of the home. But then again alot of money is spent on stuff like day care, coffee, lunch out, dinners out, clothes, take out, hair etc. etc. etc. Goodness gracious. A stink’n coctail cost $8.00 anymore. Back in my day you could get good and stinky at $1.50 a drink.

4. Challenge your notion of career. I understand we all got groovy degrees and education that we don’t want to put to waste but I’m not sure it was worth it. Also (and this will be tough) challenge your notion of your kids education and place in the “upwardly mobile” paradigm. I tell my kid to become a plumber and live in a trailer. Not exactly white collar but at least he will be able to fix stuff and live cheap - which gives him a lot more freedom them paying off skyrocketing student loans. I know it’s not for everyone (I don’t think he’s even buying it) but it is an option.

5. Work with others to make work easier. Learning the cyle of sowing (seed), growing (gardens) and stowing (food preservation)is confusing and time consuming at first but you do get the hang of it. Creating a community that supports the effort will definately lighten up the seemingly disjointed nature of the effort. And cooking and canning and making cheese etc. etc., with a friend is a gas.

6. Be the model you want your children to follow. They can’t learn it if we don’t live it. Our kids are facing it. Though I’m not sure it is always the best motive force, I know I do most of what I do because I want to tell my kids (in the event they ask) that at least I tried to offer an alternative.

7. The Book? Well,I know I have written something called “In Search of the Seamless” which is a somewhat tiresome tome on how our economy got so confused in the first place. You can read it on my website www.portlandpreserve.com but I warn you it is in need of edits. I don’t care since I figured very few folks would actually read it but it went a long way to buoy my commitment to this movment. I needed to do it before coming up with its sequel “Living in the Seamless”. Currently in the works, that book will be the hands-on, how-to, guide to making it work in the city. And I currently teach classes on food preservation and gardening to start the ball rolling. So you can find ways through all this stuff. But most importantly.....

8. Start where you are. My process has evolved over time and I am not ashamed to admit that at one time shopping in Paris Salons was my idea of the ultimate experience. So if I can go from there to becoming “Ms Potato Head”, I’m assuming transformations are available to anyone willing to slog through the patchquilt and tiers of assumptions and privilege that keep us attached to the status quo.

So those are some ideas. Others?

10. by Meadowlarkgurl on Jan 29, 2008 at 11:33 AM PST

OHMIGOSH!! Harriet, I’ve seen your site before and it’s what made me want to learn to preserve food this year!! I’ve even convinced the husband to let me try square foot gardening! And that was a MAJOR battle, let me tell you... I haven’t even broached the subject of getting rid of the front lawn ;)

I really like what you said above. It’s what I’ve been leaning towards and what I hope my kids can do. My son (1340 SAT, 4.2 honors student, tri-lingual) left college and is working construction and would like to find a farm internship. So there’s hope! The hardest part is convincing my husband that the kid isn’t cutting himself short by making these choices.

Thanks for sharing your information and I look forward to reading/learning more.

11. by cafemama on Jan 29, 2008 at 12:00 PM PST

Littlerissa:

I guess I have my next topic for a column (and here I was going to write on how we should all eat fat!). In brief, my answer to your questions are lots of the things that Harriet says (I was just thinking about communal living/working with others) and some of the “start where you are,” which you’re obviously doing! But here are a few more:

1. If you’re eating a lot, make sure it’s filling and nourishing. Potatoes, wild rice, dried beans, corn bread and polenta made with stone-ground corn meal (way more good nutrients than the other), bread and biscuits and dumplings made with whole wheat. Eat a lot of fat (butter, whole milk, the fatty cuts of meat) and almost no refined sugars and flours. I’m trying to eat absolutely nothing processed & packaged, which is a start, but doesn’t exclude all those delicious baked goods from local bakeries made with plain old white sugar and flour. Unfortunately, these things don’t fill you up, only making you hungry for more. I’ve been trying to eat fruit and slices of homemade bread with butter instead of cookies and candy and chips but it’s hard :) I’m losing weight like crazy though.

2. Keep your cooktop and oven full when you’re in the kitchen. The only way to cook all (or most of) your food from scratch is to multi-task. I’ve been trying to remember to put a crock of beets in to roast when I bake bread; and to start a pot of vegetable stock or beans when I’m cooking dinner. after the boys’ bedtime, I process leftovers; last night, it was more chicken; I broke all the leftover meat into chunks and stuck the carcass in a pot to become stock overnight. if I bake dessert, it’s late, after the boys go to bed (and then they eat it for breakfast the next day :).

3. Community. It’s a lot of what Harriet said, but I think the starting place can be sharing our resources. Going in on a half-cow together so we can get grass-finished beef. Sharing a freezer with a neighbor. Creating ad-hoc community gardens -- I have a huge yard and you don’t, so you’re welcome to a big box in my yard! And let’s get another neighbor to coach us in how to use it better. Someone else (like Harriet) to teach us how to preserve the stuff. In fact, maybe one person should be the chief of all tomatoes, growing and harvesting and canning and sharing; another could be the bread baker. I’m willing to start helping if you are!

Harriet: Let’s write that book!

12. by heather on Jan 29, 2008 at 12:06 PM PST

Sarah, how about posting the recipes for all those delicious meals?

13. by respiratuer on Jan 29, 2008 at 1:23 PM PST

I would like to chime in on the idea of “keeping your cooktop full”. Just this Sunday I made soup, chili, english muffins and butter. The english muffins and the butter are perhaps a little extreme for this example but the point is that I was able to prepare several items at one time. This was accomplished at a casual pace which included watching a little tv, doing some laundry and other Sunday chores that I would be doing anyway. Actual standing in the kitchen time was really only about an hour. the reward was at least two meals and toast every morning this week.

Soup, chili, stew, and pasta sauce are examples of relatively simple items that don’t have to cost much, can be made at the same time, are filling and taste great. No great skill or special equipment is needed and they can all be stored in the fridge for quick meal later in the week.

Our ‘Western Diet’ has been 50 years in the making. Convenience and cost have driven our food choices. The price of this convenience has been a reduction of nourishing whole foods and an increase in prepared foods full of additives and fillers (such as trans fats and corn sugars) The Locavore ideal for me is to take back control of how I nourish myself and my family (as well as my community).

Alas, I am no food saint. I try to eat as much fresh whole food as possible. Given the choice, I buy local when it is available. I try to eat in season and I cook what I can from scratch. And sometimes, get ready, I like to have a Hamburger Happy Meal (even after reading “Fast Food Nation”).

14. by Fasenfest on Jan 30, 2008 at 6:35 AM PST

Cafemama,

I’m tracking. Coffee/Lunch/? Your place or mine?

I’ll get land line info from Kim.

Harriet

15. by Fasenfest on Jan 30, 2008 at 9:52 AM PST

Dear Snowbug,

I wanted to share something with you. When I first married my husband (who knows - 4 years now) he fought(in his silent way)against the notion of hacking up of the lawns. Something about men and lawns, who knows, but he did not dig it. Slowly I have turned my front and backyard into a massive food producing machine and it is still very lovely and conducive to napping (important for the both of us). Today, he is proud. Today he participates in the garden if only during the nice weather and with the easier jobs. Today he is happy to say “this pie came from pumkins we grew.” So work slowly if you must but it can be done. No doubt your husband is reading the paper and getting a whiff of the issues that surround us. That you want to bring some solutions to the table is your strength and genius and do not be afraid to be proud and clear on them. I know shifts of consciousness are possible.
As for your very fine son and student. He knows what’s up. And in the end he will do whatever his soul instructs him to do - dad cannot really stop him even though his dissaproval might feel difficult. It appears to me your son will take that in stride. That he is leaning towards a farm internship means that he is beginning to connect to the wisdom of the natural world. He senses it and is being called. I’ll bet there is some logic and systems thinking he is exploring. In that way it might help to see it as both an intellectual and spiritual calling. He may well return to academia down the road but it should make you and your husband proud that he wants to expand his education with all that the universe (not only univers-ity) offers. In truth, when and if he returns to finish college he will be a wiser and better student. I call that brilliant. Give your husband one of Michael Pollan’s books and maybe he will be heartned that his son is on to something.

Take Care
P.S. My husband still looks askance when I tell my stepson (his son) to become a plumber. He can’t help it nor can I.

16. by Holly on Jan 31, 2008 at 6:37 AM PST

Sarah Gilbert, I think you just became my new hero. I’m a couple steps behind you in the move toward local and organic, but articles like this one put some spring in my stride.

I fried <a href="http://theliteraryassassin.blogspot.com/2008/01/living-color.html”>my first pastured local chicken the other night</a> and wrote a blog entry waxing rhapsodic about the experience.

17. by EvaToad on Feb 1, 2008 at 10:44 AM PST

I just wanted to add my enthusiasm for this article. I live in Portland, too, though I’m from San Francisco. I’m in my early 20s, recently graduated from college, work two jobs, and “give” a hefty portion of my income to my student loans.

However, my boyfriend and I try very hard to buy organic, sustainable, local food. Farmer’s Market when it’s open; Limbo, Pastaworks, New Seasons, etc. for other things. And I’d like to point out that when you buy better quality, the “skills” needed to prepare tasty, healthy food are minimal. Can you grate things? Can you turn on the oven and operate a kitchen timer? Can you boil water? Can you whisk things together? If so, you are well on your way.

I second the idea of eating filling food, too. I’m just now getting into whole grains, but yikes! They’re so filling! Who knew? Soup, too. I mean, if you start with good stock/broth (the making of which requires the following skill: boiling), practically anything you put in that soup will taste good. Stock + Aromatics + Fresh Veg (+ Blender) = yum.

You can be young and unskilled and still eat good food. By the same token, you can be busy and still eat good food. I find it just takes planning and, as cafemama said, multitasking. Let the ingredients guide you.

(Oh, and read lots of food blogs. That helps, too.)

18. by cafemama on Feb 2, 2008 at 3:43 PM PST

heather -- recipes to come in my next-ish post! lots of times, I don’t really have a recipe; but you can see some of them at my personal blog, cafemama.com.

Snowbug, Harriet -- getting husbands to go along is going to be a future topic for sure. my husband professes to be 100% in favor and then I see him happily eating left-in-the-pantry chef boyardee instead of my healthy bread; and promising his brother he’ll take him to KFC to thank him for helping us take our junk to Goodwill. sons though. sons you can mold...

Holly -- I checked out your blog! I really like it, it’s obvious we’re thinking about the same things.

Eva Toad -- so true. chopping carrots and onions should be the first thing we teach our children once they’re old enough to manage not to cut themselves...

19. by Heidi on Feb 14, 2008 at 9:45 AM PST

Hi! I just discovered this site, and the posts from Harriet and Sarah, yesterday. Though I also read Sarah’s blog (I’m a knitter!) and enjoy it, I’m really loving reading these articles. And gosh I wish I could move North.

I live in San Diego where I can brag about Farmer’s Markets year ‘round, even the little neighborhood ones, but these ideas seem to be so foreign to most folks here. My husband and I live car free, which makes us total freaks here in I-love-my-car Southern California, and that’s the just the beginning of the eyebrow-raising. Trying to live more sustainably seems fine when you’re chit-chatting over the water-cooler, but there doesn’t seem to be much support for actually putting those ideas into action. Recycling is de rigeur, but actually trying to reduce consumption? Are you kidding?

You folks are so inspiring and encouraging, I really appreciate your words, as they enable me to be more positive and remember that what I’m doing isn’t totally crazy. Or that crazy is relative, anyway.

As for finding time to cook more, I end up doing most of my cooking (and definitely multi-tasking those jobs) on one weekend day, when my husband can entertain our 13-month-old as she isn’t old enough to help yet. I do all my baking and make lunches for the week so I don’t have to get up at 5:00am and wonder what to take for lunch AND leave for the babysitter so she doesn’t have to spend time cooking or give the baby processed foods. (This week it’s homemade polenta with pasta sauce, stored in individual loaf pans that can be heated up in the toaster oven in a jiffy).

For those wanting to make changes, any change is good. And it generally leads to more changes. Maybe choose one staple food item and dedicate a month to sourcing it locally. Next month, choose another. Before you know it, it’s been a year and you know more about where your food comes from than your grocer does.

I know this is long, but I’m excited to be reading more and more now about these ideas and folks putting them into action. Almost as excited as when I discovered the Path to Freedom website!

Heidi
Viva la revolution!

20. by The Simple Family on Feb 19, 2008 at 7:47 AM PST

I’ve been searching for local foods for awhile, but here in Texas...I’m having trouble even finding a farmers market.

Luckily, what Texas does have going for it in winter is citrus. We have local citrus.

I think the problem that many don’t realize is that it is hard for some of us to get to these local sources. Sure...I might be able to buy “local” meat...but if I have to drive over an hour (at 70mph) to get there...is it worth it?

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A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice