Friday, June 20, 2008

Stay Tuned....Local Food Photos

My blog is getting boring and technical.
So stay tuned for some great pictures of super local food. Growing in my very own backyard.
I will also be discussing Days of Our Lives and how the good people of Salem are going green.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Still at it

Well, I am still at it. This business of living local is harder than expected. However, it is now becoming second nature. I find myself checking the labels on everything. How far did this loaf of bread travel to this store? (yesterday, I was able to buy a loaf of bread that said "locally baked" and Jim purchased bread baked at the store the other day).
I have not purchased strawberries in long time because they were grown in California. When I start actually thinking about it, I get a little creeped out. Why would I want to eat food grown 2000 miles away that is supposed to be "fresh." It's weird. Does that mean I will never buy strawberries again? No. I am quite sure that I will. But I am aware of where they came from which is something new.
The hardest thing for me has been shoes. It is incredibly hard to find shoes that are not made in China. Its bizarre. I found one pair made in America (Munro brand) which cost me double the price of a similar pair made in China.
So, I am still at it. It is not easy. It is not necessarily convenient. It is not always fun (I gave up an adorable skirt yesterday because of its Made In China label). But its something. And if everyone did a little something for the earth, we might be able to save it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Harder than I thought

I have spent the last few weeks trying to live as close to home as I can. As I have put back pair after pair of shoes bearing the "Made in China" label, I have become increasingly frustrated. Why is all of our stuff made somewhere else? Why should I have to import my bra from Indonesia or China or Thailand?
The fact is, its cheaper. That's it. I can go to Target and buy a baby outfit made in China for one of my many new "nephews" for $7.99. But if I want an outfit made in the U.S.A., well Good Luck. I did find some Made in the U.S.A. baby clothes made of organic cotton which retail for $24.99. For the occasional gift, that's not a problem. But could I really outfit my own child in Made in the U.S.A. organic clothes without breaking the bank? I don't know.

But I guess the question comes down to the real cost of things. So I buy an outfit from China today and save $15.00. But what is the long term cost of that decision on my country's economy, the well-being of the workers in China (who are clearly being paid much less than a similar worker in the U.S. would be paid) and the effect on the environment from all that transportation? And perhaps this is part of my mission this year -- to look at the costs in a bigger, more global manner. Because in the end, saving $15 dollars today so I can take a trip to Alaska won't matter much if the glaciers are gone by the time I get there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why Local?

The question has been presented to me: Why Local?
First, let me point you to a fabulous book called The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. He really opened my eyes to the many problems with our current super industrialized agriculture and its effect on our environment.
For instance, did you know that today it takes "between seven and ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to an American plate" and further that "only a fifth of the total energy used to feed us is consumed on the farm; the rest is spent processing the food and moving it around."
So buying your asparagus from argentina, your tomato from Mexico, your apples from Chile, means you are not only getting much less fresh food (it's got to be picked early so it does not rot when it gets to you) but you are also basically eating a lot of petroleum (how do you think they get the food from Mexico to the U.S. to your grocery store?).
We have really stopped thinking about our food and where it comes from. As Mr. Pollan so aptly puts it, "people put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor, than they will into choosing the person who grows their food."
I never thought about it that way but its certainly true.
By going as local as I can, I really want to put my food where my mouth is. So to speak.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh Brother

Well, if nothing else, this attempt is going to save me money. Yesterday I went shopping for clothes. I tore through the racks, hunting down any clothing that was not made in China. I found a handful of things (albeit, only one thing that was made in the U.S. and that thing not the least bit attractive on me) and went to try them on. Lo and behold, a marvelous skirt. Only I had to put it back. China. Made in China. Argh.

I left the store and went to Trader Joe's Grocery Store. Its a healthy food store, lots of organic and natural foods. I anticipated that purchasing local would be much easier here, than say, in Giant Eagle. Stop one, Fruit snacks my sister told me about. High in fiber, low in fat. Made in New Zealand. Back to the shelf it went. Stop two: Cheese for the pizza I would make that night. Imported from Italy. Stop Three: Tomatoes for the pizza. Imported from Mexico. How about sundried tomatoes? Imported from Turkey.
I left with a much smaller amount of food than I wanted. But with a lot more frustration than I anticipated.

It is not easy to find things made locally, or even just in the U.S. This job I have set for myself is going to require more work and cleverness than I had anticipated. So why I am I doing it? I'm saving the world, people, one piece of returned clothing at a time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Can I do it? Let the game begin.

Can I live locally? By this I mean, can I live a year purchasing only local foods and products that are not made in China? I choose China because, let's face it, alot of the stuff we buy is made there. Turn over your vegetable peeler, look on the tag of your favorite t-shirt, read the back of that new baby toy you just bought. More likely than not, it says "Made in China." I have nothing against China, and in fact hope to visit one day, but I do find it aggravating that so many of the things we use each day are made overseas. Recently, it took me three stores to find a baby outfit that was not made in China -- it was made in Indonesia, which I grant wasted a lot of fossil fuel getting to my local Macy's. But the point is, I had to go to three different stores, and tear through racks and racks of pink and blue onesies before I found a single outfit made somewhere besides China. When you start paying attention to where the items you use were made, it becomes astounding. Just think of all the energy being wasted in shipping these mass quantities of items to our local stores.
And so, here I go. I am going to attempt to live as locally as is possible.
Step One. I am going to refrain from purchasing items made in China.
Step Two. I am not going to purchase imported food.
Baby steps, baby steps. But here she goes!