Omnivore - Local leanings

Besha Rodell's recent article on the Slow Food movement addresses an important and increasingly urgent issue regarding our food choices. The purchases we make in the supermarket and in restaurants do not merely affect our personal gastronomy, but that of the the earth itself.

"Factory farms and pollution are huge factors in the threat to our food supply, and if everyone embraced the ideology of Slow Food, it's hard to imagine a scare like the spinach debacle of last year."

As Rodell points out, our decisions about where we buy our food and how it gets to us are inextricably linked to the environment. The food on our tables, from the South American bananas to the imported European cheese, results in diets that are increasingly more and more petroleum-saturated. Our food dollars go toward fueling the huge distances covered in stocking the shelves of the local grocery stores, and our taste buds suffer along with the environment.

I recently returned to my homeland of Sonoma County in Northern California, an area particularly sensitive to foodie concerns. My mom and I went to see Barbara Kingsolver speak about her new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, in which she and her family document the year they spent eating only food grown by themselves or purchased locally, preferably from farmers they knew. The auditorium was full, the parking lot packed with Subaru Foresters and an audience that was a sea of gray hair.

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