"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -Richard Dawkins

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Omnivore, Herbivore, Locavore

There was a long time where I had heard the term locavore, but truly had no measure of what it meant. Of course I fully grasped the concept, but to be immersed in that lifestyle was not something I saw myself experiencing any time soon. My husband's really not one for the outdoors, definitely  doesn't like to get his hands dirty. I like to garden, really I do, but my entire harvest, summer of '09, was wiped out by late blight.

I had the opportunity about a year ago to visit some friends of mine in Vermont who are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the greenest folks I know. Really good, old fashioned, salt of the earth kind of people. They live right in the heart of Montpelier, shop at the local co-op, can and brew and have pantries stocked with pickles, jams and mead for the winter.

I was there among ten other friends, all of us taking up space in their old Victorian townhouse, cooking and sharing meals together. One particular afternoon I was invited to come along and ride over to their community garden plot to dig up some things for dinner.

I know what you're thinking, in what modern world are we living that we have to dig up our own dinner? The answer is this one. In the still coolness of the setting sun we trudged through the tangle of rented plots, tomato vines commingling with the blackberries from the next plot over, zucchini canoodling someone else's prized acorn squash. In the seemingly vast field of plants we finally tracked down their plot, and three of us on our hands and knees turned up fistfuls of soil, hunting for the prizes underneath.

I laughed as they handed me potato after potato, which I stacked in my arms (see photo) like newborn babies needing loving warmth. I mean- yes, I hear you, they were only potatoes, but they were our potatoes. Our friends had grown them, tended them lovingly, and now they were unearthing them to share with us. There was such honesty in this work, there was joy as we scrubbed off a single, fat, new carrot under the community tap and then each had a bite. The sweetness on our tongues was the same in our hearts.


Locavorism is a growing trend, as farmer's markets and co-ops gain popularity, becoming trendier and hotter with every passing moment. But it's a trend I can stand to live with, if it turns people's attentions inward and keeps us looking closer to home. Supporting local growers, even being local growers ourselves, enriches our communities and our ties to the land we live on. It's an important lesson for children to learn, too. Where does our food come from?

With any luck, your answer will be 'Here'.

To read more about living life as a Locavore,
check out Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.


Originally written for Kids Fun Plaza magazine on 10/14/2010. Yes, I own my content.

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