Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's On Your Plate?

A few days ago, as we transported dinner outside to the round table on the deck, I noticed that everything except beverage was produced locally. Several items were from our subscription to a CSA (community supported agriculture) near Loysville, Perry County (we split a weekly delivery with our next-door neighbor), one or two were from farms also in Perry County which sell to Wegman's supermarket, and the salad was all from our multiple-containers "garden." The soil in these pots must be balanced right, judging from the yields and absence of insect attack. I can't say the same about the raised-bed garden in Zach's yard; I just figured out that the soil there must be way too acidic (yellow leaves, little yield, much damage). Time to get a bag of lime and try to get it straightened out for next year. I need to find some muslin real quick to protect the beautiful tomatoes, since what looks like a cowbird has discovered them and has pecked up every ripe one the past few days. Nature wants her other creatures fed too, not just us.
The locavore feast on the table was a first, and obviously easier to do if it's vegetarian and it's summer. Good to be finally making some progress in this direction, since eating locally I think will move slowly but steadily from a fringe activity for those who can afford it (timewise as well as monetarily) to something essential.
The 20th century where we grew up was an unusual, unprecedented period of growth in population, worldwide transport, mechanized food supply and extravagant use of fossil fuel energy. Resources have been used up and the old home place, Earth, damaged by this long party, but it's going to wind down. Good things can be made nearby; we can survive without things shipped from other continents or completely across this one. Check out Richard Heinberg's Age of Excess.
Although under fierce, relentless attack from Monsanto Corporation, food business giants and many levels of government who serve them by forcing regulations meant to counter the dangers of industrial operations upon small local producers, places such as Spiral Path Farm here and Polyface Farm near Staunton, VA are effectively producing holistic, organic and safe food products for their neighbors (neither will ship beyond a certain range). Joel Salatin, whose grandparents, inspired by J. I. Rodale of Pennsylvania, started the long journey from a worn-out, eroded farm to the 550 acres of Polyface today, writes and lectures to spread the word that it can be done well and an innovative family farm business can prosper. They started with the basics: cows eat grass, not corn or ground-up dead animal parts; they move from pasture to pasture and the chickens follow, eating omnivorously including fly larvae and other pests. Their attention is fastened on what works and is natural as opposed to the Wall Street mentality of rigorously extracted profits from forced growth and frantic, destructive efficiencies. Quantification is only one tool, and can be applied effectively to some things -- but hardly ever to the most important.
Eat food.
Not too much.
Mostly plants.
So it's said. Keep it local, too.

1 comment:

  1. Think Global, buy Local I think is the thought, but so few can do that due to availability and distribution efforts, so to grow your own is the answer. Besides, we would appreciate the substance we consume more if we produced it.