Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Wife Leads the Way (to Local Food)

Melissa is becoming a bit of a proselyter. She's never been a particularly ideological person, in any way, which is generally a good thing. But for the better part of a decade, she's become increasingly passionate--and increasingly open--about our family commitment to buying local, to eschewing the world of Big Agriculture as much as possible, and most importantly to keeping as much that is processed and synthesized and commodified away from our stomachs as possible. In other words, she believes in, as Michael Pollan put it, "eating food"--as opposed to all the other manufactured gunk that the corporations sell and the vending machines (and often the school lunch rooms) stock. This attitude of hers has 1) melded nicely and helpfully with my high-falutin' communitarian-Marxist-traditionalist preferences, and 2) is turning her into a bit of a localist guru for her small (but worthy!) segment of the blogosphere.

I've talked about our various and ongoing attempts to live, consume, and eat locally before, but usually when I've done so my own political and philosophical proclivities lead me to wax theoretical and at too-great length about populism and conservatism, environmentalism, and all the rest. So when it comes to what we're actually doing with our kids, Melissa's brevity is probably to be preferred. So, if you're interested, check out Melissa's genealogy of how the Fox family has striven to go local over the years, and the ideas that have done the most to lead us down that path. The books she recommends are all good ones that you should read; the arguments they make are all ones you should take seriously. And if you have any questions, feel free to comment either here or there....but honestly, if you want more practical advice, I'd try her first.

3 comments:

Matt said...

This sounds great, Russel. I'm not terribly moved by organic food (as such) as I am by local stuff, and I don't know if I can make any claims about health, but I know that food that is locally grown and fresh (or at least allowed to grow all the way) pretty much always _tastes better_, and that's reason enough for me to buy it when I can. (I'd rather buy locally grown non-organic stuff at the farmer's market than organic mass-produced stuff shipped long ways from Whole Foods, for example.)

Russell Arben Fox said...

Matt, I agree with you entirely. I've never been an "organic" guy, partly because we couldn't quite afford it, partly because I was suspicious of it anyway. (What does "organic" actually mean, anyway?) The local food movement has fit our sensibilities and taste buds much better than the Whole Foods thing. (Speaking of which, you might want to check out this article on the "Organic-Industrial Complex"--it makes your point that the real problem is mass production and mass shipping, which are practices which big-time organic producers and marketers like Whole Foods engage in as much as anybody else.)

Term Papers said...

Totally agreed with you that to eschewing the world of Big Agriculture as much as possible, and most importantly to keeping as much that is processed and synthesized and commodified away from our stomachs as possible.