Now that the idea of local food is popular, a backlash is detectable. I’m beginning to see comments and articles attacking the idea of obtaining all your food locally. I’m familiar with the debate technique of building a straw man and knocking him down, so this doesn’t especially surprise me; caricaturing your opponents’ views is a way to make them seem ridiculous. All I will say in this context is that few of us obtain all our food locally, or want to. Coffee, chocolate, wine, and olive oil are among the foods that I love dearly and will happily buy from other areas. On the other hand, local fruits and vegetables are fresher and superior, and we have some truly superb grass-fed local meats available. If you aren’t ready to make a big lifestyle change, try shopping at one farmers’ market a week and cooking what you find. If you want the cooking done for you, try one of the prepared foods, cheeses, or breads. Don’t go there with strong notions about what you should eat. Instead, look around and see what you want to eat. Local farmers and artisans will benefit, and so will you.
If you don’t want to try any local foods, buy some local flowers. One of the greatest pleasures of my gardening lifestyle is eating my own food on my patio among my own flowers. Beauty feeds the spirit as surely as vegetables feed the body, and our local seasonal flowers didn’t require greenhousing, pesticides, fertilizer, petroleum fuel, or poorly paid labor to reach us. The flowers are the fringe benefits of growing locally, and sometimes they are beautiful enough to stop you in your tracks, which can only be good for your health.