Ecojustice08’s Weblog

Oh Joy! Oh Bliss! by Emily
July 4, 2008, 10:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Since making the decision to eat 80% local/organic, I don’t feel as though I’ve been deprived of too much, especially right now when farm stands are overflowing with cherries and blackberries and things like corn and cucumbers and tomatoes have begun to materialize (and I can see the peaches on the trees as I drive by the orchards, so I know they’re coming soon, as well). Here’s what I had for dinner last night: a local steak, slices of locally grown potato, tomato, and onion drizzled with organic olive oil and organic balsamic vinegar, and locally grown sweet white corn on the cob. For dessert, I had local Swedish fish. Yes, you read that right: local Swedish fish.

I’m so happy about that. In fact, I’m so happy, I think I’ll say it again: I had local Swedish fish. You see, one of the things I’ve been resigning to the 20% non-local/organic category has been candy and chocolate. I can get organic chocolate, so it’s really been the candy more than anything else. We do have this little place nearby called Hershey’s, where I could also get local chocolate, but I don’t happen to like Hershey’s chocolate, which is all just so much sugar and no cocoa to me. I’ve been wondering if I shouldn’t just give up candy, since it has no nutritional benefits whatsoever, and I’ve never seen organic gummy bears. An argument can be made for buying something like bananas that have to be shipped long distances, because at least I’m getting something healthy. But Swedish fish and gummy bears?

Last week, though, the whole dilemma was resolved, and I’m now in 7th heaven. We have a little local candy manufacturer that I never bothered to visit, because I thought they were mostly just an ice cream parlor for Turkey Hill ice cream. It’s practically next door to me. They make all their own chocolates with chocolate not from Hershey’s but from another local chocolate manufacturer Wilbur. And it’s good. They also make their own Swedish fish and gummy bears. Who would have ever thought I’d be eating local Swedish fish and gummy bears? And I can walk to get them. Now, if I can just get the candy-makers to use organic sugar…

2 Comments so far
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This raises all sorts of questions about the supply chain. Like, if the ingredients come from someplace else (like cocoa) but it’s made locally, is it local? Where does one draw the line? While that decision must be made on the individual level, it does give one pause — what are you trying to accomplish by eating locally and how does that translate into quotidian purchasing decisions? These are the questions that I’ve been struggling with. I don’t live where coffee grows, but I buy my organic, shade-grown, free-trade beans from a local roaster. In doing so, I support a local business — something that I believe in doing for reasons other than ecology (besides, we just like her, so we support her business) — but am I cutting any transportation costs by not buying beans from a regional or national distributor? Or do I just do this because I like the supplier and her store? Do you buy something that is recyclable, or something that is recycled? If natural gas is cleaner than electricity, but more expensive, are you wrong to use electricity in an energy-efficient furnace/heat pump? Do I use grain-based biofuels in my car — or do I boycott them because they take valuable commodities out of the food chain and adversly impact the hungry in poverty-stricken regions of the world? So many questions for which there aren’t clear cut answers. That we ask the questions, though, is important.

Comment by Cam

I know, I know, Cam. And I don’t have the answers. I do think, though, that supporting local businesses is important, period. Better for the economy and better for workers, and ecojustice is about that, too.

Comment by Emily Barton

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