Thursday, April 4, 2019

Living & Eating Local

I have been re-reading a book that I read at least once a year.  It is a true story about trying to live ON ONLY foods that are local.  I find it fascinating - and wonder just how many people could do this.

The book is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, A Year of Food Life - by Barbara Kingsolver.
It is really an interesting read.  Not only does it tell of her families journey to eat foods that are produced locally for at least a full year, but it also gives a great deal of information and history (good, bad, & ugly) of our food production.

Could you survive with ONLY foods produced in say a 100 mile radius of your home?
Now there can be a few exceptions like - some flours (although there are many small mills), coffee, yeast, baking soda & powder, salt, and oils (could probably render lard).

If we started today - you have what you have in your pantries and freezers to use, but can buy no more food supplies that aren't local.  You can grow your own - or buy from local vendors.
Local vendors - is not WalMart, Kroger, ethnic stores, Aldi, etc.  Local means farmers and orchards.

For us in our area:

FRUIT - we could get or grow - apples, peaches, cherries, berries of all sorts, rhubarb, grapes, persimmons, pawpaw's
Cider would go in this area as well as home made grape juice.
Basically there would be no citrus, pineapple, mango, kiwi, etc.  No tropical fruit at all.

VEGGIES - pretty much anything.  There are tons of veggies that can be grown in our state.  I don't think we would ever be wanting of much

MEAT - There are many vendors at our farm markets that sell meats - all cuts and types.  They are all in state vendors.  YES, the meat is more expensive by a long shot - but it is also better quality.

OTHER - we can buy eggs local, milk (at farm market), and various cheeses.
 If need be, there are also artisanal breads that are made locally, as well herbal teas and things like soap.
We have some grain milling operations within 50 miles - where we could get various grains and flours.
We could use local honey in lieu of sugar.
We could gather black walnuts or hickory nuts - they produce well and are here for the taking in our area.  There would be no pecans or cashews!
We could hunt mushrooms.
There are many herbs and plants to be gathered (many would call weeds) - such as clover, dandelion, plantain, thistle, wild garlic & onions, fiddle heads, etc.
It would mean making our own pasta - and there would be no rice us.

I love this idea as it is helping the local economy, the small farmer and businessman, and it would be much healthier.
Yes it is a lot more work and takes effort.  It would cost more - BUT I think this may be how things will go in the future.
I love the idea of not helping major corporations and big farma - I love the idea of not filling our bodies full of preservatives and chemicals - I love the idea of getting back to God's food (natural) - I just love the idea of local.

Yes, it would mean giving up some things we eat now - but I think it would also encourage us to try new things and widen our foodie horizons.
What do you think?

This is how our ancestors lived!!!!!!!!  Farm to table!
They grew and/or bartered, they hunted, they fished, they gleaned from the woods, fields, and surrounding lands - they preserved anything they could.  They survived.  We are testament to that - we are here!
In the book - they even followed this rule on the rare occasion they ate out - they found farm to table restaurants.

Here is another book I found at the library.  I am anxious to read it as well.  Should give a lot of ideas for finding the things that would fill our pantries and tables.

I am sure that I couldn't do this exclusively - but it sure would be neat.  I love the idea.
I try to get as many local veggies and fruit as possible in the summer and fall months - perhaps I need to try harder.

If you have never read Barbara Kingsolver's book - you should.  It is truly fascinating.  You can skip the technical stuff if you must - but her families story is so interesting.  I love the interaction with the locals and neighbors.

So what say you?  Could you do this?  Would you even try?
I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.


  1. Here in the UK during the last war, very little was imported and growing your own by digging for victory was encouraged. I was born after the war but my parents and siblings lived through it and the diet was very healthy.

    1. I know that is how my parents lived as well, even when I was younger. We all did just fine.
      I really think we should get back to it.

  2. I think we would all suffer for things we crave, but it can be done. We have many sugar beet factories here so sugar would not be a problem. You can literally survive on potatoes if you eat the skins. Now do I want to? No, but it is a good thing to think about and it also makes one more grateful for our abundance.

    1. I love the skins on potatoes. I leave them on for most things - except mashed.
      The skins of lots of things have much nutritional value..

      I really don't think we would have to be deprived - there is so much available locally. I could get by without citrus, pineapple and things that I like but couldn't have.

      I guess we all need to figure what we could actually live without.

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  4. I will be checking our loan library for these books. Another is "Blessing the Hands that feed us",by Vicki Robin...she took on the challenge for a month or more I believe....very enlightening!
    We grow lots of our own foods but the last couple of years have really been observing how so many things come from so far away and how easy it is to toss it in my cart. When I read the aforementioned book, it has set me thinking about how many local opportunities have been lost in recent years and am really trying to support more local. But beware...some stuff at farmersf markets p, etc have been bought and resold...coming from pretty far away.
    I live in a farming community where the neighbors still share their excess and are willing to barter...rha t is pretty priceless in my book. We are losing more and more of the connection with how the food comes to us and that troubles me.

    1. Yes mam, I do think we are moving farther away from so many wonderful things in our lives. The grocery cart offers us a variety - but most are just calories - not real food. Or they have so many chemicals and preservatives.

      Our local farm market has to be Indiana grown and harvested - which is what I like. No imported garbage.

      I will check out that other book as well. It is so enlightening to know what people do to get back to the earth!
      I love barter - such a wonderful concept.

  5. Love this post!
    I think I could go local since I'm in the midwest.
    Buffalo meat, beef, deer, fish, pork, cheese, eggs, honey, herbs, chickens, turkey, veggies, fruit, milk, and a great group of people around here that are very earthy who would help sell all that is needed to survive. Vitamins might be a challenge.

    1. YAY! I think I could do pretty good as well. There is so much available that we don't even realize - that comes right from our locale.

      It sure gives us something to ponder!

  6. It would certainly be possible here in Kansas, but involve lots of driving. There are certain things we always buy local as there are crops nearby. Peaches and blackberries. Our library often has a basket of produce on the counter that home gardeners bring to share. Same with church. I usually grow lettuce and tomatos and give any extras to my quilting group. We go to an Amish community a couple of times per year and get corn and some meat. Occasionally cantaloupe.
    I mostly try and eat in season and buy products I know are made in Kansas like the wheat products.

    My other thing is trying to keep the money local. I'm not a big spenders but I try to buy in town, then County, then state. At least it helps keep local businesses open and taxes where I live. I'm not an online shopper for this reason. Only if it's not available shoes for my husband in size 15!! Or a 40" inseam!!

    1. I love the idea of shopping local. You are helping members of your community not some big corporate giant.
      I do believe there are many areas where this way of eating is easier than others.

      I like that your library and church gets offerings. That is neat. Sounds small town.
      We have Amish about 65 - 70 miles from here. I sure wish their community was closer.

      WOW what a big boy!!!!!!

  7. I couldn't do it. I need chocolate way too much and it does not grow here. It is a good ides though. Lots of truckers would be put out of business, that would be bad. I do love our local farmers markets.

    1. I told my husband this and he said, "You'd die without guacamole and coffee." I think he's right lol.

    2. Oh come on girls! I love me some chocolate - but I could live without. Lot's of things I like that I could get by without. Who knows, we may find a better alternative. OK nah!

      I guess it would hurt truckers, and that is bad - but I would rather protect my community and it's people.

      Debby we said you could have coffee! LOL It was in the list of things you could buy!

    3. You know the old WHAT IF question on what one food you'd take on a deserted island? Mine is guacamole!!

    4. You know I truly can't think of a thing that I like or crave that much. Would I miss some things - yes. But nothing I can't do without.

      You must love it!

  8. I love the Barbara Kingsolver book.
    This time of year would be a real hungry gap here in the UK

    1. It would be tough in my area as well. We do have some area greenhouses that grow inside all winter, so that would help. I guess that is where it becomes important to can/freeze when food is plentiful.
      I bet we could figure out a way!

  9. We have a Mennonite farm stand where we live that is built right in their community. It can be a bit expensive, but such great produce. We could find eggs, meat, and could even grow a lot of our own food. We would be skinny if that were true though, all that hard work in the garden. I would love it though.

    1. I bet we would all be healthier too. It would be a lot of work, not just growing, but finding alternatives in our area.
      I would enjoy it as well.

  10. I try to buy local fruits and vegetables in the summer months (July-September) but the rest of the year would be near impossible. The cost of the local produce is too prohibitive to purchase sufficient quantities to can or freeze for the rest of the year.

    I also tend to buy Canadian and particularly from the western provinces. It may not be within 100 kms. but it is close.

    1. If more of us tried, the better it would be. I know it is probably impossible to live that way for most folks, ing we can do to help is great!
      Good job.

  11. Hello my friend! I have read and loved the first book you shared and it did make me consider trying to eat more local also. If I had the energy I once had, I would be driving to the farm where we used to buy fresh milk. I used to skim off the cream and make ice cream or butter with it. There is a local woman here in town that sells eggs, so I could get those from here.

    1. Hello Debbie. It does take work and an much added effort to eat that way and not every one could. It would be nice - but not always possible.
      Hope you are feeling OK.

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