Local, Organic Food – Not Just for the Rich
So while unpacking all the great local food we brought back from Burlington, Vermont I was reminded of a conversation I had recently with someone who insisted that eating local and organic was only possible for the rich. I don’t believe this is so, mostly because I was raised on whole, local food. We did not eat processed food, not even “sliced bread in a bag”. We were not rich; my parents were new immigrants and worked hard, but their food habits stemmed from their own upbringing, most especially my mom (who did grow up poor) whose family ate food when it was in season and preserved it for the times it was not. Now as an adult, I continue to eat only whole natural food, but in our house we don’t exercise the same “in-season” restraint my mom practiced. Our income allows us to buy organic whenever we see it in store, and I know that makes us food-priviledged. But convenience aside, and even though it is changing slowly, I still think we lack a real appreciation and expectation for local food. We do not love and demand food from our local farms in the same way other places like Burlington, Vermont do. Everywhere you go you see pride of local farm and industry, and a local food culture that is so ingrained in the fabric of the whole state. Just in case you are wondering where I am going with all of this (again), consider this: we purchased all the food items below at City Market (a grocery co-op) in Burlington. You’ll notice that we bought some big ticket items like meat, cheese, milk, butter, etc. (including enough for a dinner party next week), but what you can’t see is that, in addition to all the fun local goodness below, we also purchased our “regular” weekly groceries, two bottles of wine, freshly made deli sandwiches for our drive home, and a snazzy new cooler bag for the SAME money we spend on our weekly groceries alone here in Toronto. So I ask, how long can we really afford not to eat local?