Part of homesteading is being more reliant on yourself. Where you’re getting your food (i.e. big corporations) is part of this equation. Supporting the Locavore Movement is directly in line with creating a self-sufficient and sustainable homestead.
Your food travels, on average, 1500 miles to land on your plate; this includes tomatoes, apples, carrots, potatoes and more. Barbara Kinsgolver states in her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that the U.S. exports 1.1 million tons of potatoes and imports 1.4 million tons of potatoes. There is no rhyme or reason to this. Since they have to travel so far, they are harvested before they are ready and loose nutritional value. Take a look at the rich and red tomatoes at your local grocer. On average, they look much better than they taste. Once you get them home and slice them, their taste is similar to cardboard. Tomatoes are picked green and then gassed with ethylene gas to bring out that red color we are all so fond of. Another thought, “organic” does not mean grown near you. It suggests that the item has been grown under certain conditions. Food in large stores has traveled great distance to get there. It creates dependency on these large stores to supply you and your family with produce, breads, honey, meats, dairy, wines and the list keeps going.
The Locavore Movement is a growing collective of people trying to consume mostly locally grown and produced foods. Some things like coffee, bananas, and chocolate will still need to come a great distance. The people in this movement call themselves “Locavores”. As the idea keeps growing, there are more local farmer’s markets popping up each year; along with other ways to buy local. A great way to practice this movement is to keep your own kitchen garden. This is as local as you can get in addition to saving dollars with the crop you harvest.
There is a connection with homesteading and eating more local. It brings more sustainability and self-sufficiency to your homestead. Being aware of other locals in your area and what they have to offer in terms of food is a great tool for preparedness. It also does the neighborly thing of supporting your community. Supporting the Locavore Movement is doing your best to stay within 100 miles of where you live. In 2008, U.S. Congress actually created an amendment to the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act defining “local” or “regional” as the area where the final product is marketed, where that product is transported less than 400 miles from its origin. This means not taking more than a day to get to your plate. Your produce will taste better since it was just picked and did not spend that last week or two in transit.
I bought an apple a little over 4 months ago and it’s still firm, just like a bought it. It’s sitting here in my upstairs office and it gets warm in here. It’s still firm. This apple most likely traveled thousands of miles from a GMO grown orchard.
Now, I am not a total tree hugger, but there is an impact on our environment with this. The further our food travels, the bigger the impact is onto God’s green earth. The food has to be genetically modified in order to keep for 4 months on the store shelves. With all of the GMO’s and pesticides used on big store produce, what impact does this have on our pollinators? I know, that when I feed or can food for my family that I want the real deal. With all the flavor, textures and nutrition that was intended to keep us healthy and fit.
A few other benefits of supporting your local farmers are that you can often find unusual produce or meats that are not in the stores. Also, small local farmers tend to rotate their crops, giving their soil recovery time and producing a better product. A downfall could be that you need to be more open to eating seasonal foods. Canning in season produce will keep your pantry stocked during off season months. Any small effort to eat and buy local will have an impact and be a step in the right direction.
Here is a resource I would like to share with you. This link, www.Localharvest.org will allow you to search for local farmers in your area. This is a great starting point if you’re not sure where to begin. Also, check out your local farmers market and roadside fruit stands.