This year most of my veggies will be travelling only 24.4 km from a sustainable, local, organic, family farm to my dinner plate. I met the lady who grows my food at the local Farmer’s Market and signed up to be part of their vegetable box program. Starting late May to early June I will receive a ten pound box of herbs and veggies every week. I will be eating food grown without harmful chemicals, that were hand weeded. I like this idea. I will also be eating in season. Eating in season as well as eating locally is quickly becoming a forgotten concept. We go to the grocery and we buy pineapples and mangoes all year round. There are red tomatoes still clinging to the vine in the dead of winter and summer squash even though it is Spring. I have to check the little sticker on my produce to see where they are grown. China, Costa Rica, California, Florida, Mexico, and the list goes on and on. My food has become more of a world traveler than I am.
There are so many costs to having all kinds of produce available all year round rather then when they would normally grow and also having them available in regions that they are not native to. We are increasing our carbon footprint shipping our food over such large distances, and we are using energy and chemicals to grow food where they are not normally found. We are losing varieties of food by choosing only a few types for mass production. There are actually fruits and vegetables we will never experience because maybe they were not heavy producers, maybe they did not ship well or store well or maybe they were not as drought tolerant or insect resistant and because of this there are many foods which no longer exist or are so rare they may soon be extinct. Were your veggies picked by slave laborers? You heard me right. Slavery is alive and well and your next meal could be supporting such a system even here in Canada and the United States.
Some days I figure in my quest to be responsible I might just starve but then I tell myself that I just need to think big but start by making small changes. I signed up for a CSA box which supports my community and puts my dollars into the hands of farmers who are making a difference. I grow my own food as well. I have two plum trees and a strawberry patch, I have herb gardens and raised veggie beds. I also try to grow all heirloom varieties of produce to preserve diversity. I save seeds and I trade seeds with other gardeners. I forage for food which means I am really eating local and in season by finding what grows wild in my area and I try not to buy food from China as I am not a fan of my food being grown in humanure/biowaste.
I want to be responsible as a consumer. I want to put my money where my mouth is. I want the changes I make to be as sustainable as I want my diet and lifestyle to be.