I hadn’t realized what living locally and seasonally would mean until tonight. I’ve always seen those bumper stickers or signs that say “live local, shop local” and the like, and have always found that a nice sentiment. Yeah, live off what’s near you. Carbon footprints and all that jazz.
When sentiment becomes necessity, however, its an entirely different game.
Let’s take my life in downtown Phoenix. I bike to work, to the farm, to the Duce, to the market, etc. I could take a bus somewhere but Phoenix is a total newb when it comes to public transport. Things are not awesome on busses. I have a sweet bicycle though and it gets me everywhere I need to go.
Except not really. The nearest Safeway is three miles away, and have you ever carried your week’s worth of groceries on a road bike for three miles? Its not impossible, but its a pain.
This is fine though; I get half off at my restaurant. (I keep wanting to leave the serving industry…but my god, how will I eat food?!?) The problem is my work doesn’t offer kale smoothies, and I am secretly a diva in rags who needs her kale.
Actually, this all brings to reality an interesting form of class-ism. My friend’s Facebook status today mentioned this actual quote from an actual food blog; “If eating healthy is important to you, it’s simple – you’ll just make it a priority”.
Excuse me? My friend, and the rest of us, were more than a little peeved. Whoever this ignoramus is obviously has never lived in a food desert like downtown Phoenix, worked some unglamorous minimal wage gig, whilst supporting family and maybe friends. Tell a downtown Phoenix mother she ought to feed her kids more organic veggies and you deserve the raised eyebrows and pursed lips you’ll receive in response. The problem isn’t a lack of knowledge, the problem is a lack of accessibility. And why buy a head of lettuce for a dollar when you can buy a more filling, and ready to eat burger for less? We could change this too, if the US stopped subsidizing the hormone-injected meat industry and turned their wallets toward the vegetable farmers. (God I should be president. Obvs.)
(…for the time being…)
Today I deposited my second paycheck from this new job, noted I could officially pay my bills for the month, and booked it for the nearby market. All the local! All the organic! All the seasonal!
Here’s where the implications of eating locally hit. This tiny market had a ridiculous plethora of kale, but no celery. All out of spinach, too. And no chard? Frick.
Two separate kales in hand, I headed home, determined to still be my greeny old self and make this all work. I’d bought (for $15) kale, more kale, four apples, three lemons, two broccoli florets, an onion, a carrot and a zucchini. I came home and made a green smoothie, then butter-knife sliced my veggies and sauteed them in olive oil.
I texted a friend to let her know what a badass I am.
“I’m so freaking local and organic. Also I cut this meal with a butter knife.”
I really was gleaming a bit. I think its going to be a challenge to live within my means, especially my location boundaries. I don’t have a cuisine art set to slice and dice my food, so I’m going to have to get creative. (I may or may not have bitten little pieces of apple to toss into my smoothie…because what else are these fangs for?) I am going to learn whats really in season, based on what my local growers bring to this market. More than anything this is exciting.
One tongue-in-cheek funny about the food desert that is Downtown Phoenix (and cities like it), to end this: What the hell am I supposed to feed my rat, Japhy? There isn’t a pet store anywhere near me. You wanna know what this punk’s been eating?
Organic, locally grown broccoli, organic quinoa, and house-made trail mix from my work.
Sometimes things are ridiculous.