Friday, July 25, 2008

Thinking Globally, Living Locally

In my ongoing quest to become even weirder*, I have lately become interested in sustainable living. The idea behind sustainable living is to only use what you need; that is, our current consumer lifestyle is leading us to destroy ourselves and our environment, and that by changing our lifestyle, we can exist without exhausting our natural resources.

One of the ideas for sustainable living is buying locally grown/made products. This encourages growth of local businesses and farmers, uses less fuel for shipping, and increases personal health through less ingestion of unknown chemicals (pre-packaged items are often made with lots of preservatives). This is part of the reason I have been shopping at the Farmer's Market. I have to say, I don't think I'll ever go back to shopping at the grocery store in the summer if I can help it. The food is so much better from the Farmer's Market, and for the most part, it's the same price or cheaper than what I might get at the grocery store.

At the same time, I'm still struggling with the sustainable living concept, because it isn't so easy in the winter. Vegetables are plentiful in the summer, but local fruit is hard to come by, and in the winter it's non-existent. I'm really not thrilled with the idea of eating nothing but root vegetables all winter long, but that's what's available here. So I give up the idea of eating locally in the winter and go for stuff that's shipped in. Therein lies another problem: I would like to eat more organic food. But organic food is so expensive! And while this idea is important to me, it's also important to me to save money. So I resort to eating pesticide laden fruits and veggies from Mexico (or wherever), and try to remember that at least in the summer, I do a little bit better.

I have lots more running around in my brain about the sustainable living concept (and other more generalized environmental concepts), but I will save them for later. Suffice to say, I haven't the balance for sustainability, convenience, and pleasure just yet.

*I feel I must explain that that's a joke; that I am not really on a quest to get weirder. I've known plenty of people who try to be weird, and I am not one of them. I work in a weird profession, come from a weird family, married a weird man with an even weirder family, and seem to have developed some additional quirks on my own along the way. I am already heading towards "neighborhood crazy lady" without even trying, thank you very much. If anything, I would like to be less weird. Unfortunately, the deck seems stacked against me.


henna73 said...

You are so NOT weird. However, if your friends/family are like mine, they think all this "green" stuff is weird.

I try to do my part and I figure every little bit helps.

I am in the same boat for winter. We don't have a ton of veggies or fruits in the winter. I have been taking advantage of the local foods the last few years by freezing and canning. It really isn't hard and it isn't a huge investment. It might be something you could look into.

Alpha Monkey said...

You're weird in a good way. "Normal" seems boring anyway.

I'm also trying to buy more organic foods. The organic grocery stores around here are also pricy, but the North Market is great for cheap, locally grown organic food. My problem is that I end up eating out a lot.

I can't wait to hear about your other sustainable living ideas.

Alpha Monkey said...

I came across this site about vertical farming:

The NY Times also has an article about it:

It looks kind of interesting, although I think it's just conceptual at this point.