Carrboro, North Carolina
Born and raised in central Maine, my youth was spent mowing the lawn, kicking a soccer ball against the garage doors, and trying to sneak sugar cereal out of the kitchen cupboards after I was put to bed. More about Tim
South Royalton, Vermont
I am a baby boomer who grew up in a time when the trend in food was convenience and speed. It wasn't the fast-food era, but a post-World War II time when ... More about Warren
We live in Holliston, Massachusetts. When we bought our house in Holliston about 27 years ago, Holliston was a rural/residential town of about 13,000 people. More about Barbara
Wallace, West Virginia
My name is Autumn. I'm 24 years old, and I live in rural north-central West Virginia. I was born and raised in West Virginia, and in 2005 I graduated from ... More about Autumn
My personal interests revolve around the environment, both knowing more about it and getting outside and enjoying my surroundings. This led me down an educational path to ... More about April
I am getting so tired of this false dichotomy which seems to be gaining momentum in the mass media. Scientists, in all their unquestionable wisdom, have begun to chime in on the issue reinforcing entrenched, parochial views on food delivery. Several studies are now showing that eating locally may be less efficient (in terms of fossil fuels) than feasting on mass produced food shipped half way around the globe.
Curiously, no one has yet asked the question "Just because Europe can get lamb from New Zealand and roses from Kenya more efficiently than they can grow them themselves - does that mean that they should?" We've been so concerned with how efficient we can get whatever we want that we haven't stopped to think about how efficient it is to want what we want.
Furthermore, does anyone recall that at some point in our past, eating food that was shipped half way around the world was way less efficient than eating things that were produced locally? In fact, it was nearly impossible! What can we learn from this?
Time does not stop... and things continue to change.
Does evidence supporting the efficiency of mass produced food in the present suggest that even greater efficiency in the future cannot be achieved by returning to our communities and building and supporting a more efficient local infrastructure that delivers local food to local markets? Absolutely not. Why isn't this argument being made!? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
In the meantime, as we reify the efficiency of mono-crop agriculture, shipping containers, and refrigerated trucks, we must evaluate what cultural, environmental and health related sacrifices we are making while we remain committed to an aging paradigm of food production and delivery.
I strongly encourage comments on this issue. It's an important one.
I can't help but think of the warmth of spring. As the snow melts (it is melting for good this time, right?) I'm seeing my yard for the first time. When we first saw this house, it was January and snowing. When we had it inspected it was covered in snow. When we moved in, it was covered in snow. After we moved in we got about 41 inches over the course of 4 weeks, so nothing ever melted enough for me to see the yard. But now, April is almost here, and maybe, maybe, I will get to meet my yard for the first time.
I want to start a veggie garden. I've always wanted one of my own. I grew up in the country and we had a huge veggie garden and so did my grandparents. All summer we just ate out of our gardens. As I've mentioned before, my attempts in various apartments to grow vegetables in pots were never successful. Now for the first time in my adult life I have soil in which to dig. That said I'm not sure this is a good time to start a veggie garden. Since most of the summer will be preoccupied with learning how to be a mom along with finishing my degree, I'm not sure I'll have the time to care for a veggie patch. Also, there is no established garden here. The yard is beautifully landscaped, but I will have to tear up a lot of ivy to start a garden, and I don't have a tiller. I'm wondering if I should learn about my yard and its ecology this year, and plant next year.
That said, I can still dream. One thing I already know about my lot is that the back, where there is the most room for a garden, gets morning and afternoon sun, but is low and wet. It might be dry by August, but for now it looks more like a pond than a yard. I don't know my soil type yet either, but given how much water is seeping into my basement, the soil absorbs a good bit of water. Do any of you have recommendations for fruits, veggies, or other edibles that like wet soils? Alternatively we're considering putting in a rain garden. We can't link our gutters to the storm sewers in our suburb, so when all that snow melts or we get a lot of rain, the water just sits on our yard, and then in our basement :-). Does anyone know about planting edible rain gardens? I haven't done any research on it yet (another thing I don't have time for), and we prefer to plant native varieties, but I'd love to hear about your experiences.