Fuel Your Body
Longing for Local
By Joanna Gertler | April 28, 2011
Photo by E-Von-Zita via Flickr (cc)
Officially it’s spring in Canada, yet many of us feel as if we’re still in the depths of winter: cold temperatures, blustery weather (and the occasional light snow) do not augment spring, yet there is evidence it’s en route as daffodils, crocuses and forsythia are beginning to appear.
At this time of year I begin to long for fresh, local produce – but it will be awhile before we can eat locally grown asparagus, rhubarb (unless it’s from a greenhouse), and other early-spring vegetables.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the root vegetables of winter, but I’m so over them by April and so ready for the spark of green that pea shoots offer.
To tide me over, I resort to reading blogs and articles by my favourite locavores, foodies and like-minded food lovers. Americans, such as Michael Pollan (he of the famous, Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much), Alice Waters, Let Things Taste of What They Are, and one of my favourites, Mark Bittman. all provide worthwhile reading.
In Canada too, we have our own bloggers and locavores. I like to keep up with them to find out what’s happening in my own region – such as, when are the local markets likely to be opening, which produce will be available and when, and information about the farms and farmers I’m likely to encounter when I do get to the market. Sarah Elton is probably one of Canada’s best-known locavores, having published Locavore: From Farmers Fields to Rooftop Gardens, How Canadians are Changing the Way We Eat in 2010.
Much of this “local” way of thinking and eating sprung from Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon’s effort in 2005. Based on the Canadian west coast, they began a one-year experiment in local eating. Eventually publishing a book, titled The100-Mile Diet. This diet saw them sticking to only eating foods that were completely sourced from within a 100 mile radius of their home. This manifesto provided a tipping point for many and its impact has had a significant effect on the development of the locavore movement.
Adhering to this kind of diet is extreme, especially if you live in the eastern and northern part of Canada, and while I’m all for local, I know I simply don’t have the stamina, or willpower to cut out avocadoes, mangoes and other tropical fruits. Here’s to hoping that spring is here.
*updated October 2012