<body> eat local challenge: Local goes global <body>

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Local goes global

I liked the idea Mandy spit out about checking in around our half-way point. Funny how things that begin as a fun challenge can easily run headlong into a deep rut. Not that I feel I'm in one, but eating local no longer presents an exciting culinary challenge--instead, I feel that I know what I can eat, and I eat it. That said (and I know I've already said this several times), I think this challenge would be really different/extraordinary if you had nine months to prepare and no job.

But it sounds like I'm whining, which I'm not. I got so excited to see the fresh crop of local apples that I nearly fell over sideways. And while I do love food during all months of the year, this challenge REALLY makes me appreciate food again, which is a gift.

Mandy sparked the idea of taking this challenge a little broader (i.e: what could they grow at the Intervale that would benefit localvores), and I am totally on that boat. At a recent potluck I was dialoging with a fellow grower. Together (after several Phoebe-tinas made with local vodka), we thought of all kinds of ways this challenge could benefit local growers. We are, as localvores, a vast sea of knowledge about local food sheds, community involvement and potential demand. Let's do something with this information! I've been thinking about a survey to hand out to all localvores in VT, just to gather information that could be useful for growers, markets and distributers. Anyone interested in talking more about this?



At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phoebe yeah that sounds like a great idea. I'd be in for doing something with what we learned.


At 9:51 AM, Anonymous mandy said...

City Market is looking into doing a thorough survey of their "made in" and "grown in" Vermont products this fall, fueled in part by member workers. I am certain they'd be open to participating in whatever we'd like to do.
In a way, what we've been doing this last month is market research. It's totally important to document what we've learned. I will continue to explore "official" channels to do that, though I imagine we could do it ourselves as well and then make whatever we learned available to all.
More later - Mandy

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous angela said...

on a more personal scale, i'm still committed to compiling a cookbook/resource zine specific to eating locally in burlington for the month of august. you know, cut + paste style.
i'm in michigan now, eating local peaches, which are delightful. upon my return i'll post about my localvore road food i prepared for the drive.
see y'all soon!

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Ian Davis said...

Hello there,

I was in Vermont last year doing some work with and for the Preservation Trust (about big box retailing) and whilst in Burlington I called into the Co-op - hence the reason for coming across this blog.
Back home in the UK we're trying to do some work (informaly in my home village and in a quasi-governmental way across the county of Warwickshire) about reducing food miles. You are way ahead of us - any advice?


At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


We aren't way ahead of you in the UK. Most of us all eat food shipped quite a bit.

But the idea of this localvore thing is to bring that to attention.

Among the group of people writing/commenting on this blog I think it's safe to say we all think about the distance our food travels.

If nothing else than just to know if it's fresh or not. We like to eat.

I'm going to be making a post soon about local vs organic. It's something I've been thinking about for awhile but recent conversation at our Dessert event (see Meghan's blog) brought up again.

I'll try to make that into a good forum for ideas/lessons learned, Ian.

But in case I forget... Remember that food production is a system driven by economics (in the larger sense, meaning it requires an understanding of resources; physical capacity, talent/skills, portable finance/fuel units, desire/marketing). If you keep that in mind you will do well in improving your the situation in whatever way you can.


At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Ian Davis said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks. I guess the diference in scale between the US and the UK might require an adjustment inthe difinition of "local". I think that you're looking at a radius of 100 miles (a similar figure is being used in Vancouver). We're right in the middle of England. If I draw a 100 mile radius centred in Warwickshire it'll include London, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and most of Wales - a total population of around 50 million people. So 100 mile local effectively means England.
Our farmer's markets work on a radius of 30 miles, which feels more local in our context.

Having said that, if we could get people to eat English food rather than unnecesarily importing apples from France, beans from Zimbabwe, lettuce from Spain etc we'd be getting somewhere.

I have a bit of a fear that this might all be the sort of thing that only affluent people can get up to - the privelege of those of us with a disposable income. On a similar note I didn't see many people jogging in Nigeria, nor did I find many moral vegetarians in Kenya. All part of middle class angst i suspose.

Anyway, I,may be back over in Burlington this Autumn so I'd like to call in and steal some of your ideas.


At 11:53 AM, Blogger localvores said...

As a member worker at City Market, I'd be interested in helping to spearhead this research. Any advice on who to talk to would be great.

At 11:54 AM, Blogger localvores said...

As a member worker at City Market, I'd be interested in helping to spearhead the "research." Any advice on who to talk to?
I'm on board with the zine. Love it.


At 6:29 PM, Blogger localvores said...


When you get to town just start asking around for the Seamonster Potluck. Or talk to people at the City Market, Intervale, etc. There are a lot of people working on the issue and it would be fun to see some concrete guidelines/planning actions done.


At 8:36 AM, Anonymous mandy said...

Ninja is the one to talk to about the City Market project. Maybe you and I could do it, Phoebe?

Yay, Seamonsters.


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