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December 2008








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Eastern region bloggers

Tim BairdTim Baird
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

Warren JohnstonWarren Johnston
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

Barbara KattmanBarbara Kattman
Holliston, Massachusetts

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

Autumn LongAutumn Long
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

April LuginbuhlApril Luginbuhl
Cleveland, Ohio

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


< Home Fermenting | Main | Build momentum in 2009 >

In Retrospect...

Posted at 10:16 AM on December 15, 2008 by Autumn Long (12 Comments)

2009 is just around the corner, and I don't know what will become of the Splendid Table's Locavore Nation as 2008 comes to an end. So it seems like a good time to look back over this year of locavorism and share what I've learned.

This brings me to my first point: What happened?? When I was approached last year to participate in the Locavore Nation, it sounded like it would be well organized and enthusiastically supported, and would generate a lot of public participation. Fast-forward to a year later, when a few steadfast bloggers are still stubbornly churning out occasional entries despite a steady waning of interest by all (or at least most) involved parties. I've tried to keep up my end of the bargain, but I can't help but feel that I'm often writing just to hear myself talk, so to speak. I wish there would have been better organization and more encouragement and support from the people who created this project in the first place. A great opportunity has been wasted in many ways.

That being said, I do want to recognize the small but dedicated group of people who have been reading, commenting, and interacting with this project throughout the year. I want to thank each of you from my heart. Your comments and questions have challenged, intrigued, and encouraged me whenever I've needed it most. I also want to thank my fellow bloggers for being fascinating human beings. Whether or not you've managed to keep up with the blogging and the local eating this year, I've had a great time reading your posts and learning a bit about each of you. It's encouraging to know that there are so many thoughtful people out there who are willing to step outside their comfort zones in order to try something new. Hopefully we've all learned some things about ourselves and the world in which we live through our participation in this project. I know I have.

A big thank you is in order to everyone who made this project possible. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in something truly worthwhile. I know I just complained about how it's come off, but the bottom line is that I've enjoyed being a locavore blogger. In part because of my participation in the Locavore Nation and my focus this year on local food issues, I'll be pursuing my long-held interests in Appalachian land use patterns and regional agricultural traditions in an academic setting next fall. I'll be heading to graduate school in West Virginia University's Geography Department (ironically, I think a couple of other Locavore bloggers are Geography grad students, too... Spooky!). I hope to play an active role in the growth of local food networks, and I will continue to support the local food movement both personally and professionally.

Thanks for an interesting year, everyone. Happy holidays, and may your new year be the best yet!
Happy local eating,

Comments (12)

Thanks for writing, I've enjoyed reading. will miss the blog when its over.
Would love to see it continue maybe with different people to get more perspectives.
thanks again. Lisa

Posted by Lisa Brown | December 16, 2008 8:07 AM

HI Autumn,

I'm going to miss your posts. You articulated a lot of my frustrations as well. I thought there would be more encouragement to get readers to the site, and more discussion once they were here.

Even if you thought you were writing to hear yourself talk, I found your posts inspirational, even if I couldn't comment every time. You've inspired me to try a few things differently next year. My locavore aspirations are a work in progress!


Posted by April | December 16, 2008 3:04 PM

Hi Autumn,

I have enjoyed your posts, and checked in regularly, although silently during the planting frenzy and harvest mania. I am really impressed with the effort all the bloggers went to to locate local everything! Until I read Barbara Kingsolver's book, I really didn't get the local connection from an environmental point of view. I have been going local for decades, but it grew out of my committment to organic gardening and my viewpoint as a small business owner. Around here 30 years ago, if you wanted organic we had one small store (Namascar), and you grew your own. Over the years we had a previous coop (Washoe Zephyr Food Coop), and now a new coop (Great Basin Food Coop), but it has been mostly a grow your own proposition. As a small business owner, I do business with local small businesses and they do business with me, which is how we all survive.

This year of following all of you has made me very aware of where the rest of my food comes from. With a 90 to 120 day growing season at 5000 foot altitude, I will never grow my own flour, olive oil, coffee or citrus. I now get all of these either locally, or from a local business that imports from other small, local, family owned, free-trade businesses. Growing my own, buying in bulk, and trading with other gardeners allows me to eat fresh, organic, local food at about the same price someone else spends on lower quality and highly processed food. It tastes way better and I have an immune system of steel.

Right now I am baking savory breads for Christmas gifts, to include in my "Breads and Spreads" gifts, given in recycled canvas shopping bags with a big bow on top. The breads include vegetables and herbs I grew, and my new locally sourced flour, oils and eggs. The spreads include my old standbys and some new butters, roasted pepper spreads, and pickles thanks to the "The Splendid Table Bloggers", especially you.

We all want to change the world, and you have. I jumped on the organic gardening soap box 38 years ago, inspired by my grandfather who considered chemical fertilizers a passing fad (I still believe they are). The world is a big place, and changing the direction of something massive takes a little jolt and a long time. Fortunately, the current food production methods just aren't that old. We are going back to the Victory Garden. Looking back over my cookbooks, it shows up. The Tassajara Bread Book, Recipes for a Small Planet, Putting Food By, Sacramental Magic in a Small Town Cafe, Cooking from the Garden, and With a Measure of Grace all show a slow steady movement back to fresh, organic and local food. Chefs in 5 star restaurants grow herbs on their rooftops and feature local produce to great acclaim. Barbara Kingsolver's book got a new word in the dictionary.

So don't stop now. Take what you have written and keep going. I would happily subscribe to your newsletter or blog. I'll buy the book. I am sure you can find a way to turn this in to one or more graduate projects as you head back to school.

It has been a pleasure reading your posts, and seeing the world from a different view point (paw-paws, who knew?). I am sure we will all be hearing from you in the future.

Love and light,


Posted by Kathy | December 16, 2008 5:33 PM

Lisa, April, Kathy, thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughtful actions. We're all in this together, and I'm so glad we had the chance to share a year of our common experiences through this forum. You're right, Kathy: We are changing the world, one free-ranging chicken and heirloom tomato at a time. I wish you all the best and hope our paths cross again someday...
Happy local eating,

Posted by Autumn Long | December 17, 2008 9:00 AM

I have really enjoyed your posts. In August I moved to WV (along the KY/OH border) from Minnesota. I was discouraged when I started looking around for a food coop or a bulk food provider. I have enjoyed hearing about different ways you have met the challenge of local eating in WV. You are very fortunate to have land to grow food (animal and vegetable) and have people in your life who also follow the local eating lifestyle. You have encouraged me to seek out people who might be willing to share their harvest. At work I ran into someone who was more than happy to give me a chunk of deer meat after I told him that I would miss the contribution my father and grandfather usually make to my freezer every fall. I have learned that in order to find local food in places where there are not stores that cater to the local eating lifestyle, it is necessary to just start asking people. Not only has this resulted in some prized food finds, I have also met some great people while learning more about my new community. Thank you for your insight.

Posted by Ashley | December 19, 2008 7:55 AM

Ashley, thanks for your comments, and thanks for reading. Good luck in your ongoing locavore efforts in the Ohio River Valley. You make a good point about the locavore lifestyle: much of it relies on person-to-person contacts rather than institutions. I think this can be a good thing as long as there are people willing to take the initiative to create these types of casual networks. For bulk goods and the like, you might want to consider some type of co-op delivery service since there is not a natural or bulk foods store in your area. We order bulk items through Frankferd Farms (www.frankferd.com) in southwestern PA; they deliver throughout PA, Ohio, and WV. If you can gather enough people to meet the minimum order requirements (a few hundred bucks, on average), they might deliver to your area.
Good luck, and happy holidays!

Posted by Autumn Long | December 19, 2008 9:19 AM

Hi Autumn,

Our family are friends of Donna's family because we lived in the same area at one time and are linked by some shared pathes through life which is how we heard about the locavore project and many associated things. I hope the end of this year will not be the end of these blog entries as they have been a wonderful oportunity to have a little view of some people's lives who seem much more like kindred spirits than those people who populate popular media dramas. It has been such a sorce of joy and inspiration to share the experiences of you and your fellow blogers and their families. I have avoided posting too many responces for fear of seeming to have a need to bask in the light of you folks' day in the sun and it is sometimes easy to get too enthusiastic an some topics. Don't get me started as I sometimes say after regailing someone for 5 or 10 minutes on some topic I feel strongly about. At any rate I have treasured yours and many of the other posts over the last year and they will be sorely missed if they cease.


Posted by Mike Lawrence | December 19, 2008 7:33 PM

Mike, thanks so much for reading and supporting this project. It's been a wonderful way to connect with like-minded folks from all over the country who share common interests and a commitment to making thoughtful choices. I don't know what will happen to this website next year; I haven't heard anything at all from the Splendid Table folks, and the decision is ultimately theirs. Whatever happens, I do hope to retain some of the wonderful connections I've made with folks over the course of this year. Thanks for being involved.
Happy local eating,

Posted by Autumn Long | December 22, 2008 12:55 PM

I've loved your posts! I hope we can stay in touch after this year is over. There is so much I could learn from you!

I share your frustration. I thought we'd have a little more interaction with the Splendid Table team. I sure hope they keep the website up, and let us blog if we want to. I wonder how many hits our blogs ultimately received?

Thanks again for all of your inspiring posts. If you ever find yourself near Reno, be sure to look me up. I'm friends with Kathy, too. I bet we gals could cook up something excellent and gab all night!

I hope you have a great Solstice, Christmas and New Year!

Posted by Leslie | December 23, 2008 4:51 PM

Hi Autumn,

I am working on my end-of-the-year entry and I decided to pay a long-delayed visit to the site. I'm glad I did.

I was happy to read your frustrated words. I agree - and I'm preparing my own.

Also - as a geographer, I'm happy we can now claim you as one of our own.

All the best,

Posted by Tim Baird | December 26, 2008 4:19 PM

Leslie and Tim,
Thanks so much for your comments. It's been great to share this locavore journey with both of you. I've enjoyed peering through a cyber window into your interesting lives and personalities this year. I hope we locavores can maintain contact in the future. I'll be saving email addresses... maybe our paths will cross again someday. If either of you are ever in WV, you are always welcome at our farm. Happy holidays!

Posted by Autumn Long | December 29, 2008 9:58 AM

I too hope we can continue blogging if at all possible. Locavore reunion?

Paulette in Seattle

Posted by P. Thompson | December 29, 2008 3:32 PM