Cleaning off the top of the refrigerator today, I found an article in last month’s food issue of the weekly paper about Bill McKibben, the author I went downtown to see last Friday. It says that last winter, as a experiment, he only ate food grown in the Champlain Valley (except for spices). Root vegetables, dairy products, apples and cider, beer, maple syrup, organic wheat… apparently we’ve got it all around here, and your food tastes much better when you know the stories behind where it came from.

In his recent book, McKibben talks about how giant food corporations — realizing there’s big money in it — have taken over the organic food business. Organic is good, he says, but the answer is really locally-grown food.

[quoting him from here:] Every time we shop at a market, we take advantage of the facts that: it’s always summer somewhere and cheap fossil fuel brings our food to us from far away. Basically, these facts allow us to “eat take out every day? even when we cook from scratch. For example, growing and transporting iceberg lettuce from California to the East coast costs 90 calories of fossil energy for every one calorie of nutrient provided. Even organic food at supermarkets is a problem; those products often come from even further away. The long supply lines need trimming.

By looking for the cheapest way of doing things while ignoring the environmental costs, we have been destroying America’s rural landscape…The good news is that there are new and interesting kinds of farming emerging, as well as marketing opportunities, such as farmers markets, of which there are now over 10,000 in America.

Last year, Gourmet magazine asked McKibben if he could feed himself on Champlain Valley food through the winter. He was surprised to find that he was, indeed, able to eat well in winter on local products. He found a lot of people figuring out how to grow and market food, producing diverse products and in collaborative systems, such as CSA community farms. “Not only can you eat with your tongue, you can eat with your head, as well.? An example: think about the freshness of a tomato after travelling 1500 miles. Now imagine one grown by your neighbor.

If you’re one of those books-on-tape people who just listen to things now, rather than read them, the story is also here.

* * *

As a follow-up to this post: I was interested to read on the front page of the village weekly today that the Field House, home of the remarkable inside soccer fields, just had its occupancy permit revoked. (I wonder if the .gov is going to come back and put back up the ribbon he cut last month.)

The website of the village weekly is in tatters, but the Burlington daily paper has this to say.

* * *

Following up on this post: the woman who manages our apartment triplex came by this morning and (very efficiently) installed a new thermostat in our living room wall. Which a) actually seems to work and b) is good, because the temperature (outside) was 18°F when I got up this morning.

20° (and below) seems to be where I start taking the weather seriously. In Maine, it’s the temperature at which I put on a coat before walking next-door to my sister’s house.

I asked our manager about her miniature horse Cooper [referring to an earlier post that doesn’t exist yet], and she said that he has a new ball (purple this time), and is doing well.

About RPS

This entry was posted in Home, Neighborhood, Region. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Upd8s

  1. dhacker says:

    Did she fix the thermostat because she read the blog? I”m interested in causality.

  2. RPS says:

    I’m sure she did not. She is the type of person who actually does stuff, not sit around all day in front of the computer looking at blogs.

    Which this is not, by the way. That would be too common. This is a … well, I’m not sure what it is.

    But it’s not a blog.

  3. WisdomWeasel says:

    ” locally-grown”- music to my ears. It pains me no end to go into the co-op and see all the Joel Peacerabbits buying organictomatoes in January, trucked in from California…. It has always struck me as a bit like driving your car to a protest against oil wars.

  4. Jim says:

    I second WWeasel’s “hurrah” for your thoughts on buying local, vs. seeking that 3,000 mile, organic Caesar Salad from California.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s