Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: On Gradually Achieving a Sustainable Local Diet - An Introduction

Saturday, July 12, 2008

On Gradually Achieving a Sustainable Local Diet - An Introduction

This series of posts is a result of my experience, as well as a few posts I’ve seen recently. Chile is doing a series on food security and what to do if food or the resources to obtain food are unavailable; Arduous did a post of food waste and cooking for one, which got me thinking. I started thinking about the path to food sustainability and the “in between” region, folks who aren’t destitute and struggling to feed themselves, but aren’t made of money either. Do I have anything to offer you all? Well, I am one of those people who isn’t destitute and also isn’t made of money, but wants to find ways to reduce my dependency on the “global food system”, eat locally, reduce my burden on the environment, and also to have at least a little more control over my access to food, a concept I’ve heard referred to as “food sovereignty”. The thing is though, I also don’t have a whole lot of time, equipment, space, a large family to cook for (just the two of us) or well, the discipline to spend hours in the kitchen each night.

I will probably tell you a lot of things you already know, but perhaps you will learn something new, a new trick, skill, or way of viewing your eating habits. I must also caveat that my experience is in no way all inclusive, I am not even where I want to be, I can’t say in any way that I “know it all”, or even that I have the best way of going about or viewing things, but this is what worked for Brett and I. A lot of it is psychological; some of it is common sense, pragmatic, or resourceful. I must also state that neither Brett nor I are fans of sudden change. Nor do I feel that, at least for us, this is the most effective route to a long-term, lasting change in lifestyle or personality. I prefer the gradual method, the trial and error method, but this requires one to have an unlimited sense of humor, and also be willing to fail, even waste, on their path to, well, reducing their waste. It might seem counterintuitive to waste to not waste, but if you don’t know how to cook, garden, or preserve food, there is a learning curve involved, it helps to be aware of that. You should also view your transition as a journey, a gradual change that requires effort and even failure, basic cooking skills, how and where to obtain food, and how to be resourceful with the materials you have.

The first post will be about meal planning. Learning to look at what you eat in a slightly different manner, and assessing where you are, what you like, where you’d like to go, the level of effort you want to put in to your food preparation, etc. I will discuss how Brett and I plan our meals in such a way that we do not waste food and does not require a lot of money, but does require planning, motivation, and creativity.

In the second post, I plan to discuss the notion that sustainable, local food is unaffordable. I will talk about the different ways of food procurement and how to get the most out of the resources you and your locality possess.

And the third post will be about gardening in small places and changing your viewpoint about “waste”. I will discuss how to turn your waste into food, while also reducing your environmental impact, costs, and reliance on the global food chain.

Stay tuned.


Chile said...

Jennifer, this looks like a good series! Thanks for starting it.

Atta girl! Oops, sorry. (No, not really. I did that on purpose. *grin*)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Chile - Thank you, sometimes you get inspiration, and when you are long-winded like I am, well that invariably turns one post into a big "to do", and thus we have a series.

I hope to get the second piece, Sustainable Food = Affordable Food done sometime this week.

Hahahaha! ;-)

Chile said...

You know the really nice part of your series, Jennifer? You're covering some ground that I was going to cover. Now I can just link to your series and go off and play. Or write up another fun rant. Or get to the zillion other subjects I want to post about.

I never do understand bloggers who complain about nothing to write about. My list of "posts to write" is ridiculous! So thanks for doing this series. I love it!

(Have you noticed some of us can't even rein in our long-windedness when leaving comments? Sheesh. Is there a help group for this?)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

I feel the same way about some of yours and other bloggers' posts, saves me time and I don't have to reinvent the wheel, just link folks to others who said it as good as I could have.

I don't either, if I really did write about all the things I would like too, I would innundate readers with material anyway, so it's probably a good thing I don't have more time for it.

Haha! I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I understand, you've seen the length of some of my responses. Whew!

arduous said...

Jennifer, Thanks for this! I am excited to read the whole series!!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Arduous - Not a problem at all, if something I have to offer can be of use to anyone else, the least I can do is share. :-)