My seventeen pound, 4 month old, Shayla, is strapped in her baby bjorn on my front and is making swipes at my 5 year old’s ponytail, while I am holding both her hands helping her walk. Meanwhile, my precocious 3 year old, Isabella, has already run over to Riverslea Farm’s booth and is talking to the owner, touching all the wool products in sight. I am walking through the Exeter Farmer’s Market looking for some fresh strawberries with my three girls. My oldest, Alexandra, has an undiagnosed genetic disorder which includes developmental delay (non-verbal, not walking independently yet), a swallowing disorder, and a seizure disorder. She is just one of the many reasons why my family has decided to start eating locally and dive head first into the post-industrial era.
I am increasingly reading about the growing number of autistic cases, the increase of obesity, diabeties, genetic disorders, and learning disablities, to name a few. I am also reading about the links of these increases to the amount of chemicals that are found in our bodies. The statement, “You are what you eat,” is taking on more meaning than ever before. Now, I may never know what the cause of Alexandra’s disability may be, but I feel like something is terribly wrong when there are so many children (1 in 6 have a developmental disability) with health issues. There are also studies that show eating organically for just a short period of time, significantly reduces the chemicals and pesticides that are found in our bodies. Also, by eating locally grown and organic foods, the foods themselves are more nutritious, than the food grown and processed by the industrial food industry. This knowledge is highly motivating for me to change my shopping and cooking habits.
Outside of my children, my husband and I spend a lot of time talking about the environment and the impending future energy crisis. We are very concerned about the future and what it holds for our children’s lives and families. We have brainstormed how our one income middle class family could make a difference. Yes, we changed our light bulbs, and insulated our house beyond what the contractor thought was okay. We would love to own a house like George W. Bush’s ironic environmental Texas ranch, or purchase a brand new hybrid car, or some innovative solar panels that look like roof tiles, but that takes money. So when I recently read about eating locally and the enormous benefits it provides the environment for a fairly low cost, I was all ears.
So beyond all the depressing future outlooks and political statements, the bottom line is local foods taste really really good! How can you argue with about which tomato to choose for your July picnic salad? One from California that tastes like cardboard or a juicy rich tasting one just picked from the vine. And who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked bread from the oven? One of my recent favorites is a slice smothered in local butter and honey.
Now in reality, this is a time consuming effort to change my habits, to figure out not only what is available near our family, but where too. And who has time to drive to 5 different locations to complete the food shopping for the week? Well, I am going to do my best to try and figure out how to make it work. I also hope to make it easier for other busy families who share similar concerns and would like to feel like they are making a difference.
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Food For Thought…
- "In my view, homeland security derives from having enough potatoes."
- - Barbara Kingsolver,
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle