Over the past year, I've been writing about and reflecting on my rising commitment to feeding my family mostly seasonal, locally-produced foods, as part of my broader urban homesteading goals. The clincher for me was reading the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by best-selling novelist, Barbara Kingsolver. Kingsolver writes about rejecting the industrial food complex that feeds most American families, and instead committing, along with her family, to consume only local, seasonal foods--including much that they produced themselves. I love this entire idea, and have been steadily moving in this direction, inspired by books like Kingsolver's, and friends of mine here in the city who have led the way. One such friend, for instance, is endeavoring to only purchase "raw," farm-fresh ingredients, nothing prepared in a factory, including things like raw wheat to self-grind and prepare at home.
As I realize more and more how detached I have become from my food, even as I've focused more on purchasing locally in the past year, I become increasingly disillusioned by the rise of the industrial food complex over the past half-century, and bewildered at how I was able to be easily lured into its variety and convenience without much effort. The effort, it is clear, is in recognizing the cost of convenience, things like genetically-modified and highly-processed foods, and seeking alternative ways to feed my family using farm-fresh, local, seasonal foods.
When I think about it, it is baffling that to eat the way our great-grandparents ate is so hard. It takes a lot of conviction to feed one's family pure, local, seasonal foods--not to mention re-learning what those seasonal foods actually are. And it is especially hard to re-learn what came so naturally to our ancestors when we have hungry little mouths to feed who could care less whether the kale they ate tonight for dinner came from near or far or was produced with pesticides or without. But I care. I care about learning what I don't know, committing to what is hard to do, and contributing to a larger cultural shift in helping families to reclaim control of local, farm-fresh foods.