California’s practically next-door anyway (Day 9)…

Wild Rice

I just read an interesting article in Time magazine (thanks for the subscription, Mum!) proclaiming, ‘local is the new organic’ — the author was compelled to write the story when he found himself wavering in the produce aisle, unable to choose between the organic apple from California or the pesticide-spritzed apple grown locally in New York.

In the end, he goes for the latter, because although the organic one may be better for him nutrient-wise (this hasn’t been 100% scientifically proven yet), the locally grown one is fresher, which means it’s probably better tasting, possibly just as good for him (again, yet to be proven) and most definitely better for the environment, as it didn’t require days on the highway in an air-polluting truck to get there.

Of course, it would be the ultimate bestest to be able to eat food that’s both local and organic (sorry, I’m really into the italics today), but it seems that just about the only people able to do so are Californians — other climates are either too wet, too dry, too hot, too cold, too dark, too sunny, etc. So for all the non-Californians, there’s always going to be that little bit of stress upon being confronted with eight varieties of potatoes and having to go through each one trying to figure out which one to get.

I’ve been convinced by Mr. Cloud (by the way, is that not just the cutest name ever?) that buying local is more important, at least when it comes to my value system, but being the soft-core environmentalist that I am, I’m not about to restrict myself to the 100-mile diet just yet. I am, however, going to only buy food that comes from within North America.

Obviously, I’ll try to keep it within Canada, even within Ontario — and within my apartment when it comes to basil, parsley and mint! — as often as I can, but I’m a titch nervous about what’s going to get ruled out. Already avocados are gone, and that sucks because I love my Barefoot Contessa guacamole, and no longer will I be able to slice bananas on top of my Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal each morning.

But I might as well try, right? Oh yeah, just a couple caveats: One, if I’m at a restaurant, all bets are off (but that’s usually only once a week); and Two, alcoholic beverages don’t count, either (seriously, there’s a reason why Canadian vineyards are only known for their ice wine).

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18 Responses to California’s practically next-door anyway (Day 9)…

  1. Emma says:

    ummm…..WHY have you given up avocados. Does that include avocados that come from Dynamite Rolls?? I couldn’t do that…

  2. pat farquharson says:

    Is Canada growing anything right now? Perhaps in rainy BC. Maybe everyone should go to the store to see what they can find. Does frozen stuff count? Maybe Ontario wine will start looking good!
    M
    P.S. Avocados dont grow in Canada , Emma. Neither do Dynamite Rolls!

  3. Joe in Kandahar says:

    I always wonder about these organic and local things. Isn’t the best thing for the earth the most efficient? If you can grow 80 million tonnes of carrots in California and distribute them effectively, isn’t that better than a bunch of small operations each burning fuel and plowing nutrients into the soil?

  4. Lori V. says:

    Vanessa, I’d love to be so close to CA…here in TX, I can go out & buy locally grown petroleum products, though! LOL!!!

  5. Lori V. says:

    Oh, and on the light bulb front, the CFL’s are pretty painless… I have a couple of links in my blog that should help you out!

  6. gettinggreen says:

    Hey Joe in Kandahar! Good to know you’re still alive… I certainly hope you’re limiting yourself to a strict diet of food ONLY grown in Afghanistan.
    I disagree, though — I think it’s better for the earth to have multiple small-scale local farms than a few massive ones in California. The same amount of soil would be used anyway and plowing it isn’t as bad for the environment as the trucks and planes required to distribute the food. Plus just in terms of quality and freshness, local takes the cake. Even better if you can actually visit the farms that produce your food and really get a sense of what goes into every meal.
    And Emma – I’ll eventually be able to eat avocados again, when the grocery store starts carrying the ones from California (as I’m limiting myself to North America for now, not just Canada).
    Oh, and Lori – awesome work on the local petroleum! Haha. Our local petroleum comes from Alberta :)

  7. Just for the record… it has been scientificially proven that organic is more nutrient rich and therefore healthier than conventional. One such study was done by Rutgers University setting out to disprove the belief that organic is better… but their reserach showed that it is in fact better. But yes.. local first. Organic second. Unless of course we’re talking about strawberries. Always organic strawberries.

  8. gettinggreen says:

    In friendly rebuttal to healthycookie, the Times story says: in a paper published in October in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a team from the University of California, Davis, demonstrates that organically grown tomatoes have significantly more vitamin C than conventional tomatoes. Even so, the same study shows no significant differences between conventional and organic bell peppers. “We’re just beginning to understand these relationships,” says U.C. Davis food chemist Alyson Mitchell, one of the paper’s authors. “We understand, and have understood for a long time, that there is some relation between soil health and plant quality, but we still don’t have a solid scientific database to link this to nutrition.”

  9. Jak says:

    I’ve got organic coming before local for now, but its so great to find both at great local markets. Makes you feel like you found gold. You can also feel good about eating foods that do now get sprayed with many or any pesticides. On this topic I read an article about how Walmart, to help with their continued new green conscious, is staring to restrict the distance their fresh food can travel, setting limits where they can and focusing on reducing those distances over times if possible. Not that I am in love with Walmart, but I believe they are the number 1 organic food seller in the states.

  10. Joe in Kandahar says:

    Yes, I told the cafeteria ladies from Tajikistan that I would no longer be eating their environmentally unfriendly fare, and demanded that they go forth into the hills of Afghanistan to seek out healthy organic options. Unfortunately, those hills are mined.
    And the ladies from Tajikistan work for Halliburton, and Halliburton’s not so interested in sharing the wealth. I’d bet the food comes from factory farms in some distinctly red states. I’ll have to do a story on it.

  11. [...] bigger step) to giving up bottled water (great step!) and turning down the thermostat. Forever. On day 9 Vanessa is going for local food (but sometimes bananas are OK.) On day 12 Vanessa both cheats and I [...]

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