In Her Shell
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
  Mesopotamia, If You Will

In a recent discussion about the best place to move in order to be able buy the most locally (I'm focusing on food here, but what else is new), I proposed Costa Rica. It has so many different ecosystems within its relatively small acreage and when I was there, we had fruits and meats and rice and beans in such remote places, that I assume with no other research that it is the best option. Plus I liked it.

A. asked me if I had considered The Fertile Cresent. I immediately accused him of suggesting it only because it includes the word "fertile." Then I tried to maintain the theoretical basis of the discussion as I imagined myself moving somewhere that is regularly described as "war-torn."

No one describes Arizona as "war-torn." I haven't been to Arizona. I haven't done any research about ecosystems in Arizona. But when I think about what it takes to get all those fruits and meats and rice and beans to Arizona, it seems really rather selfish that anyone moves there.
As scary a prospect as it sounds, the southern midwest/southeast has a surprising array of crops. They even have rice paddies in North Carolina!

Of course, with hydroponics, technically *any* vegetation can be local. Then you just need to worry about meats.
Costa Rica is on my list of top five places to visit.

We have fun AND fruits down here in the South.
I, too, am on a local foods kick and have been meaning to post about it for, like, months.

Two books I would recommend: Plenty, which is the memoir of a couple in Vancouver who make a year-long commitment to a 100-mile diet, and Life is a Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which is about a year during which her family only ate foods produced in their county. Both are very good, although Kingsolver's is a bit preachier than the other.
Costa Rica is on my list as well, and it's good to see another mention of local foods. My mood improves greatly every summer due in no small amount to the availability of food and herbs from our own garden and from the local farmers market that runs from June-October.
And now for the talkback section of IHS:

JAG: So why aren't more veggies grown "locally" in more places? Is it really expensive to do it that way?

Beth: Do you find it easy to get your hands on local produce?

Megan: Thanks for the recommendations! What's your take on the local vs. organic debate (i.e., which is more important)?

Bubs: Right on! What do you do for local stuff in the colder months?
In the colder months we don't do anything right now, unfortunately. We're looking for a CSA to buy from year-round. We used to can a lot of fruits and vegetables, but haven't in the past 10 years.

Hopefully in a few years we'll be able to move south and have a longer growing season.
Local local LOCAL!!! According to almost everything I've read, local foods are often grown organically, but most small farmers can't afford the USDA certification. At any rate, with local foods you can get to know the producers and actually find out what they're up to. If they're monocropping genetically modified corn, I guess it's better to go with organic. But I have yet to run across a small-time local farmer who's not in it for sustainability.

And Kingsolver says you can eat locally in the winter, but you have to plan for it in the summer (like Bubs said with the whole canning thing). Of course, that's kind of a pain.
I would like to move to Costa Rica. Take me with?
Another reason to move to Madison; you could just go to the farmers' market every weekend.
Lu: Wow, now I know your motives were really altruistic, since moving to Madison would no longer mean we'd be closer... :(

Grant: I thought you'd never ask. Damnit.

Megan: I would like to learn how to can things, if only because it would earn me a spot in the end of the world bunker.

Bubs: Can you post some instructions for canning things?
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