... and other thoughts about going green, going organic and carbon footprints.
Prepare yourself for a deep post.
Lately I've been inspired by my recent trip to Italy and my friend Rebecca's post about going organic. It has made me think more about where my food comes from, what happens to it along the way, and what that means to me and to the planet. It's part of the reason I started a garden. I want food that is fresh, delicious and doesn't send me on a guilt trip when I eat it.
Rewind a few weeks to my triumphant return from traipsing through the Italian peninsula. I've got news for you: Those Italians know how to eat. Everything was so damn delicious! Even more than that, it was fresh! We visited the farmer's market each morning prior to setting out, and everything was picked at it's peak and ready to be eaten immediately!
This wasn't just something quirky tourists do on a low-budg trip to Italy. Farmer's markets are EVERYWHERE over there, and everyone gardens. Every yard, balcony, porch, stoop or windowsill had flowers, herbs and produce growing on it. It's a quintessential cultural phenomenon over there, and people are incredibly aware of where their food comes from and incredibly discerning about food quality. As a result, you don't need fancy ingredients to make a stellar meal, just a few fresh, high quality ingredients.
Alright kidz. Let me connect the dots for you.
This got me to thinking about how we get food to our table in The States. It travels hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles from Chile and Argentina, picked before it is ripe, sprayed with wax, preservatives, pesticides and hormones so that when it arrives, it looks appealing. Even so, unless it's in season it just doesn't taste that way it did in Italy. And innumerable gallons of petrol went into bringing it to me.
The eat local movement is gaining momentum here, and there's a reason: It makes sense. Eat what's in season, and eat what was harvested nearby so that it is picked fresh and doesn't expend as much gas to get to the grocer. It tastes better, it's better for you and it saves Mother Earth a little headache in the process. It supports local business and can even help to build a better community. Done! Sold! I'm on board!
I intend to start shopping local at the Reading Terminal Market, the Italian Market and the farmer's market on our corner of Lancaster Avenue whenever I can. Even more than that, I'm going to grow food for myself in my own backyard. Take that, gas-guzzling tractor trailers! And I'm going to try to be as green about it as I can. But I'm going to do it on my terms.