Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Ach, the guilt
Food miles (and carbon footprints, and especially embodied mass) are always knocking around in my brain these days. The first time I learned about food miles, I was gob-smacked. It had never occurred to me before.
Seasonal food was always pretty intuitive to me. I clearly remember being disgusted by out-of-season food when I was a kid-- it just seemed so ungrateful and greedy. Blueberries in February? Gah. Whadda I look like, some kinda princess?
Same with bottled water. Can't you people hydrate at home? How about a nice public water fountain? Just where do you think all those empty bottles go? Recycle, schmecycle- we shouldn't be making all these stupid plastic bottles in the first place! Clean, drinkable water comes out of every faucet in the USA! Why-o-why can't you see this, people??
Yeah. Pin a rose on me- what an aware kid. I was a dork. That's what a 10-year-long subscription to Ranger Rick will do to a young, pliable mind. Turned me into a far-left, bike-riding, waste-hating, nature-loving, vegetarian treehugger. All of which were decidedly uncool in the 80's. And it stuck for a long time- I didn't learn to drive until I was 25 because I hated adding to the pollution. That crying indian on the side of the filthy highway haunted me for years. Dork, I tell you.
But back to food miles.
I know there's a lot controversy about just how food miles are calculated. And sometimes, because of agricultural practices and various other factors, it is better to get some foods from far away. The complexity of food miles is daunting and oftentimes misleading.
(Which is why you should grow a garden! Take the 50-foot food challenge!)
Anyway, here's my short list of foods (actually, condiments) from far away I'd rather not go without:
-Ume Plum vinegar (Japan)
-Home-made olive oil (Lebanon- a guy at our farmer's market has it shipped in from his family farm in Lebanon- my husband and I practically wept the first time we ate it)
-Celtic sea salt (Ireland?)
-Kelp (somewhere in the big Atlantic ocean)
What's on your foods-from-far-away list? Is this something that niggles away at you? If not this, what does niggle away at you?