Saturday, August 9, 2008
"Eating Local" means "My Backyard"
I've always been more of an ornamental gardener than a food crop gardener, but lately I've been becoming more and more interested in eating locally. The local farmers markets don't seem all that terrific, so in this case, eating local means food that I've grown myself. Part of the reason I'm especially interested in it now is the result of a couple of books I'm working through on my summer reading list, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma.
I'll post a review of these later, after I've finished them.
One of the main reasons I've never gotten very big into food crops is the simple, if embarrassing, fact of my kitchen laziness. It's not that I don't enjoy growing things, and it's not that I don't enjoy cooking things. I simply don't enjoy the in between steps of harvesting, washing, prepping, and storing of vegetables. I mean, shelling peas??? Washing spinach??? Come on!
Still, the case against the high fuel costs for the way we eat in modern American is compelling. Not to mention the case for improving our diets by eating seasonally. So, I've decided to start easing into it this summer. In the spring I planted tomatoes, four kinds of peppers, and two kinds of squash. So far, it looks like only the tomatoes are going to come through, I think in large part owing to some problems I had getting my drip irrigation to deliver water. I think they simply weren't getting enough, and I didn't realize it until it was too late.
I've decided to persist, though. Failure is only total failure if we can't learn from it and move on. So I've ordered some things to plant this fall: garlic, arugala, and spinach.
I'v also ordered plans for a chicken coop. If this seems like a big leap, let me say that Ive wanted to raise chickens for years. Years. And now that a neighbor has a sweet little flock of three, I feel emboldened to try it myself. First a coop, however...
I have actually owned a chicken...for a single day. She was a rescue who, sadly, was killed by one of my dogs after I brought her home. I won't go into that tragedy here--it's a long story, and one I still find very upsetting. It is, however, the reason I won't get any more chickens until they have a coop in which they can be safely locked at night. The dog who killed the chicken has since passed on, but we still have three. Emma was a hunter, and the three we have now are not, but I've decided nevertheless not to take any chances.
Anyway, the check for the coop is in the mail. We'll see where this adventure goes.