Isn’t it interesting that every time that the price of gasoline increases at the pump there are many that become indignant. We are told that there are 5 years worth of oil under the arctic, 50 years off-shore in deep water, even 400 years beneath the Rockies! Of course it is there for OUR taking and we should pull it up and burn it! Never mind the next generation, let alone the next millennium.
Our choice is simple. Re-create our civilization to run on solar energy – to return carbon to 350 parts per million, or be remembered by historians as selfish barbarians that imperiled the planet because we had to drive the two blocks to buy lottery tickets.
A while back I got out our old paperback copy of “Diet for a Small Planet.” To look at it one would think that we had memorized the contents like it was holy writ. In my review, pursued to find some facts about combining vegetarian products to create complete protiens, I discovered that I had only embraced the broadest of concepts. The chapter and verse had long escaped me, but the vision that what we eat has global consequences, has long been a central tenant of my life.
As of late I have joined with some friends, neighbors and new acquaintances in the effort to encourage a shift to local food sources in order to build local self- reliance and improve our personal, community and planetary health.
The local foods or “Locavore” movement is gaining tremendous momentum across the globe, but especially in the western “over-industrialized” nations that have made food cheap by using heavily subsidized fossil fuels and fertilizers.
To achieve a re-localization of our food markets we need to re-think not only our choices at the supermarket check out, but the nature of our home place, the definition of prosperity and our connection to the people around us. We need a vision, articulated in a menu and built into a regional diet that understands the true costs of the primary use of energy in our lives….the food we eat.
A diet for a thriving region will be built on the reality that we need to spend more on food and less on gasoline. It will realize that we need more farmers producing vegetables and staple foods and the rebirth of diversified farms and the communities and industries that support them.
Each of us can make a dramatic difference by working to purchase 25% of our food per year from our region. Some of us who understand the complexity of our challenges, can even do much better, spending more on our food in exchange for a more intimate relationship to those who grow it and the land we and future generations depend upon.
And we will need new cookbooks, canneries and a conception of a diet…and a new way of living in a thriving, prosperous region.