Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ach, the guilt

(best olive oil in the world, that Ze Tune...*sigh*)

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?


The Barber Bunch said...

What irritates me is how much organic foods are in the store.

I know....if we buy more the demand will go up and the price will go down....or so they say?!?!?

ilex said...

My opinion on government-regulated organic is this: it's still Big Ag. Big Organic farms are still giant, sprawling mono-cultures. Organic soil is usually not as sterile since they use compost teas for fertilizer, but they still use a lot of 'naturally' derived, though dangerous, nicotinoids for pesticides. Yes, it costs more, because their practices are somewhat better. But the government has really messed it up, as the government is wont to do. You can be sure that everyone along the organic chain is cashing in on the organic label.

Robbyn said...

Ranger Rick and the Crying too, me too!

What niggles, no ROARS at me, is the assumption on the part of oh so many that whatever's "affordable" in the store is the only logical choice...and that engineered, genetically-altered foods are as "inevitable" as having an entire population on anti-depressants and a pile of meds while we all stress ourselves to death trying to pay for our McMansions.

Oh, I have some niggles alright...(ok that sounds a little saucy, lol..)

Yes, there are some things I appreciate as imports. Olive oil, and olives. Spices. Small farm cold-pressed coconut oil. And herb seeds or starts that we're trying to buy to grow HERE :) I'm sure there're more, but I'd better not whine myself to death today...enough of that has been going on over here :)

ilex said...

Right on, sister! Robbyn, you're a chica after my own heart.

Yeah, I just read of your workplace troubles. Wow, indeed.

DK & The Fluffies said...

Oh, we'd have to say saffron. I couldn't live with out saffron.

Yellow said...

Ohhh, coffee. All be it Fairtade, organic, breastfed, woven from armpit hair coffee. And rice, which obviously isn't grown in the UK. Mind you, it's wet enough here so I don't see why not (only kidding, I'm not that dim). I love your attitude to all that's 'green'. Hubby and I have joke codes for 'right on' food (see above) and for fascist dictatorship, multicorporate food. Hubby will only drink Nestle (spit, spit, wash out mouth) coffee, so we buy a pot of his and a pot of mine each time.
Oh, and garlic and ginger, again neither of which is UK grown. And lemons, and bananas, and dark chocolate, and paprika, vodka, Benedictine, Australian red wine, raisins..... Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

ilex said...

Miss Yellow, you are so funny. armpit hair coffeee... I gotta work that one into a sentence today.

What you wrote sparked a tiny theory in my brain- I wonder, is that why England became an Empire? Because eating 18 different kinds of game for breakfast, lunch, and dinner gets a titch old after a while?

Verde said...

Food that comes from long miles and I'd rather not do without: Coffee, olive oil (of any kind), sea salt, citrus fuit, peanut butter

Thanks for a great post.

Yellow said...

Ilex, you know the game you play when you imagine who you'd love to invite to a dinner party, inluding fictional characters and dead people, only they wouldn't be dead at the party, oh, you know what I mean. Anyway, I'd invite my dad, and you, cvos you're an utter. I'd also invite Stoney. You must visit his blog if you haven't already. Look up Musings from a Stonehead.

ilex said...

Hah! Yellow, I already love me some Stoney. I asked him to adopt me a month or two ago- he giggled and politely demurred. If your dad's at the party, I'm in- and I'll bring a case of Michigan wine.

Ooh, Verde, I know what you mean about citrus fruit. 'Specially in the darkest months of winter.

Ian said...

Another great blog ilex,
For me it's coffee, tea and bananas. Living in France I'm spoiled with the olive and olive oil thing cos that's local!!!
Oh and a quick note for yellow, you can buy garlic grown on the Isle of Wight (England). Insist that your local supermarket stocks it!!! They grow so much they now export it to - you guessed, France.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Bananas .. obviously! Thump ...

Michigan Whine ... I been getting it for the last 5 months from my siblings there. Now it is becoming the Michigan boast!

Paw Paw still make a wine???