Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sustainability and 100-Mile eating

Boy, I've really been slacking on keeping up in here. :-)  Part of the issue is that I just haven't done anything particularly new and interesting in the kitchen lately, and unfortunately, I haven't thought to take time to put to proverbial paper some of my other thoughts on food and eating.  So perhaps I'll start with that for the moment while I work towards more delectable inspirations.

Having a bit of a survivalist mindset and a macabre love of post-apocalyptic fiction, one of the things that always rolls around upstairs with the marbles is how to manage food and cooking if supplies of things are cut off.

The recent tragedy in Japan is just another example of things that happen that are really in the more likely scope of problems that occur as opposed to more interesting doom-filled scenarios.  Changes in environment that can include natural disasters, but even just changes precipitated by the global political climate such as rising oil prices affecting the economy and food transportation.

While I am not the staunchest practitioner of sustainable eating, I will say that it definitely has come to mind both from a health perspective and from a preparedness standpoint.

For example, as I munch on my organic orange that came in my CSA box or drink my morning coffee, I realize that both of these products come from places that are not local to Washington State.  Coffee, in fact, is not local to any part of the United States.  Many fruits aren't local.   Chocolate?  Various food products aren't local.  Cooking oils including olive oil?  How much do we consume that is imported or otherwise not locally produced in the state?  How much do we pay not just in cash but in environmental cost for these things?

I find myself thankful we are coastal though.  We have various seafood options that are relatively local.  We also have a mixed climate state that provides for things like wheat, potatoes, grains, hops, grapes, and other various vegetables.

One-hundred mile eating, or as the book I found calls it, the 100 Mile Diet, refers to committing change to your diet for even as little as one meal a week to keep to only locally grown and raised food.  The idea is not only to take advantage of local food, but to also become aware of where your diet originates and to do the research to know where things you eat come from.  Not only is the diet better for the environment from a fossil fuel perspective, but to my way of thinking, it is better from a preparedness perspective in terms of knowing what your options are should lines of transportation become cut off or too expensive.

Another piece of that plays into my latest desire to get into a house includes a home garden, and the various things I'd like to grow, eat, and preserve.  At that point I'll get to decide on the various things I'd really like to grow and keep and even the idea that I'll have fresh herbs available makes me excited.

So how do you justify your diet?  What considerations do you have for what is and isn't local?