local eating

Rethinking Local Eating


“Eat local” is a ubiquitous jingle in the sustainable-eating world, but the word “local” may be going the way of the term “natural”, which is to say its elastic has finally snapped.  I am a passionate lover of words, since I have been a lifelong writer, and care very much about their integrity and flexibility, among other things.  I wonder if the nature of the word “local” is vulnerable to exploitation, since our measuring sticks are each unique.  That alone has been wonderful for marketing, and has satisfied the whole foods industry immensely. 

All that to say, when considering food labels we may want to take a breath, and take a step back.  What do you reckon “local” means from where you are? I look to Wisconsin and Iowa beyond my own state of Minnesota, but I also cheat a little and consider the delicious fruit of Michigan to be “local”. 

But what if we were to add yet another dimension to the term, and suggest that our own kitchens are the ideal place to source “local” food? 

When we scratch our heads as to what to eat, what if we could simply find the answers in our own cupboards, refrigerators, and gardens? Maybe local already is at your fingertips and footsteps, and isn't necessarily something you need to go out of your way to find. Yes, haphazard dinners can sometimes be rather clunky and wanting, but most of the time they are simple pleasures, and look at you, tidying the larder while using your creative bone.  

Tonight: a half-opened bag of spiral pasta, a can each of tomatoes and white beans, and a rather small and antique end of parmesan in the back of the fridge drawer.  Dinner is served!