Monday, March 24, 2008

Locavores: Growing Our Own Food

A week or so ago, just after we had tilled the spot for the vegetable garden, I happened upon this word: locavore. My word processing or spell check program doesn't acknowledge it yet, but I was very amused and taken by it. It means, of course, eating locally. But it also means, going out to the backyard to see what's fresh and ripe for dinner, going to the farmer's market to select great tasting fruit and vegetables that weren't picked green a week or two ago and sprayed and fumigated to be shipped halfway across the planet to get to your table, chatting with the local growers there about what's good and the best way to eat it. To me it means going out my back door to snip the herbs I need to finish off my family's dinner; it means the garden patch at the end of the yard and the homegrown tomatoes and squash there that my grandma tended every summer until the end of her life last fall at almost 90. It means getting my hands in the dirt and enjoying the fruits of my labor.

I found the word locavore in an article (You Want Local? Try Your Back Yard)by Barbara Damrosch from the Washington Post. She says:

"You could say 2007 was the year of the "locavore," a word coined by California food activist Jessica Prentice to describe people who eat food that is locally grown. While the New Oxford American Dictionary was declaring "locavore" the Word of the Year, shoppers were scurrying about in search of onions grown in nearby fields, beef grazed on local pastures, chickens who had come home to roost."

The same day I found an article at Kitchen Gardeners International on reclaiming the water and fertilizer-guzzling, wasted space of front lawns and an interview with the author of the book, Edible Estates, who has gone to many neighborhoods, including one in Austin, Texas fairly recently, to do make-overs on lawns and wasted spaces, turning them into family or community food-producing gardens. I was delighted at this serendipitous discovery just after attacking part of my front yard to put in a garden. This Saturday we raked out the soil, weeded, placed stepping stones, and in the center of the plot set the birdbath from my grandmother's yard. Then, with our 10-year-old daughter, we planted cauliflower transplants and seeded spinach and mesclun salad mix. We're just waiting 'til April to put in those tomatoes and summer squash.

Also from KGI: As Emerson put it: "When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands."

No comments: