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Local Eating and Connecting With the Earth

Local Eating and Connecting With the Earth

I heard a writing professor interviewed on the radio today who instructs his students to write stories that take place within five miles of their hometowns.  He said the point of this exercise is to encourage his students to become attuned, in a deeper way, to the story and character of their locales.  The same can be said with eating locally.

Food, of course, is about more than just what we put in our mouths.  It has social, cultural, and historic functions.  And by becoming familiar with the foods that grow around us, we gain a more meaningful – and intuitive – understanding of the place where we live.  For example, I was born in Ohio and lived there until I was 13.  To me, Ohio green beans taste quite distinct, and are more appealing to me than green beans grown anywhere else.  My mother says the same thing about Ohio tomatoes.  And specifically, tomatoes grown in southern Ohio, in the Ohio River valley.  By familiarizing ourselves with the foods that grow in our areas, we physically and fundamentally connect to our environment.  And, as we build memories around that food, our emotional ties to our surroundings grow stronger.

In addition, eating locally means eating seasonally, which helps us build an intuitive simpatico with the ebb and  flow of the earth’s cycles.  I am currently reading The Backyard Homestead, a fantastic book that I highly recommend for anyone interested in gardening or homesteading.  The author explains how she knows when to plant particular crops by the flight patterns of insects and the colors of leaves.  She is truly in sync with the earth, and she achieved that because she wanted to grow foods that would thrive in her particular locale, at particular times of the year.

There are many benefits to eating locally.  The food is fresher, the carbon footprint is smaller, and local businesses are supported.  But perhaps the most profound benefit is the way that eating locally helps us to become attuned – in a fundamentally human way – to the earth and our surroundings.

Related:
7 Tips for Green Eating
How Do Grocery Stores Define “Local”?
4 Tips to Eat Organic on a Budget

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Eating for Health, Food, Nature

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

57 comments

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3:49AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

thanks for sharing

2:14AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Thanks for sharing!

4:23AM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

I've had a backyard garden in the last 3 places we've lived. When I couldn't have a garden I grew things in containers. If you can't grow anything where you live give sprouting a try.

3:07AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Thanks for the article.

3:06AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Thanks for the article.

7:13PM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

Thanks for the post.

8:12AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food." Hippocrates
we must light up the darkness for knowledge is not power its empowering lets all be empowered to change. life has value beyond measure
Peace and Love

9:32PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

thanks

9:37AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

That basket looks soooo good. Thanks for the excellent article.

1:07PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

I LOVE our farmers markets... and the CO-OP!!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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