In the late summer of 2011, our family of three was going through the process of buying a new car. We struggled with the fact that our car of choice was less fuel-efficient than the car we were replacing. To balance out this increased impact on our planet, we decided to challenge ourselves to eat foods grown as close to home as possible. We were already buying a good amount of food from local farmers and had been members of a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for several years, but we had never systematically evaluated where everything we ate came from.
Our stated goal was to eliminate all “non-local” foods from our home. We live in Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley, where farming conditions are ideal. We quickly realized however that we would not be successful if we attempted to limit our diet to our valley alone and decided to define “local” as Oregon, Washington, and California. Also, if a food was grown or raised in Oregon, we would not source it from outside the state. Prepared food would not be eaten unless prepared by a local processor, using local ingredients.
Our goal is a work in progress. We are constantly evaluating our food choices and working to make our diet as locally based as possible. One of the things we spend the most energy on is replacing all of our food staples with Oregon grown products; it is often difficult to buy a particular food that we know is being produced in our state (for example, rolled oats). We also struggle with when and how to make exceptions that allow us to avoid the feeling of deprivation. We know that if we are too rigid, we will no longer enjoy this challenge, and as a result we will fail.
This blog shares some of our stories as we strive to find our food.