Local Food Will Change You

April 23, 2009 at 8:15 am

Rob Gardner

Pre-earth day,  I told you how the act of eating local could improve the state of the Earth.  The day after, let’s talk about how eating local will change you.  Too late for my Tuesday link collection, I came across this great article, “10 Ways Local Food Has Changed My Life” by Lee Zuckor on the site, Simple Good and Tasty.  I wish there were not things like copyright laws and ethical standards, ’cause I’d just like to re-print this whole thing.  I went through the list, and I was like, uh-huh…uh-huh…Go to the link and see what you think. 

Lee disdains greasy spoons (and living in Minneapolis, he has access to one of the best in Al’s) for a new found appreciation for fresh, tasty, foods.  I too eat out way less, especially of the breaded veal cutlet, off-texture burger and frozen fry type of meal.  Me, I disdain with a passion the Costco type fruit platters with winter melons and insipid orbs masquerading as grapes.

There’s the connections: Lee rattles off a bunch of names that mean nothing to me, but would he know Terra Brockman, Paul Virant and Farmer Vicki?  Would Lee be impressed that a few weeks ago I sat down to lunch with Marc Shulman and talked local?  Still, I believe we both agree that eating local puts you in touch with a host of farmers, producers, chefs and other foodies.  Not only food people that share your values, but food people that expand your horizons.

Lee also states that eating local has enabled him to connect with people he knows in new ways.  Yes.  Not the least my two co-editors here at the Local Beet, but also other friends.  And stories come out.  We all got to recently share David Hammond’s canning adventures, another well known Chicago foodie will soon share his tale of local eating woe–as an aside, we actually believe that publishing these pieces furthers the cause of eating local because we want to show that we try and try and sometimes get not quite as far as we want.

His kids know the meaning of local, sustainable and organic.  My kids berate their friends who eat white on the inside strawberries.

Lee discovered the joy of cooking.  We’ve discovered how to put our vast collection of cookbooks to use.  Really, the joys of cooking are in the joys of eating, and sharing a table.  The eat local lifestyle means, especially to me, gathering around the table most nights (lacrosse season excepted) for delicious food.  It can be as basic as some Michigan beans cooked up with nothing more than olive oil, garlic and a few herbs or as elaborate as a multi-meat, multi-sauce bollito misto.  Eating local breaks the tyranny of packaged food.  Us locavores skip the vast prepared food section at Whole Foods, going instead only for the Indiana air-cooled chickens and similar products.  Even if the popcorn is local, we do not make it our repast.  We avoid the TV dinner in all that means.

Appreciate farmers?  Pshaw.  How can a lover of food not appreciate those that make it happen.  My commitment and passion for local foods fermented in visits to Henry’s Farm and Genesis Growers.  Show me a nice farm dinner KennyZ and I’m there. 

Call me crazy, but I need coffee.  But I always say, don’t make yourself nuts trying to eat local.  It need not be about 100 miles or two week challenges.  You will impress yourself with a resolve to pass up the low hanging fruit for that schlep to the market.  Keeping an attic full of food may sound crazy, but a good piece of food in winter may be hard to find.  You will find yourself up to all the challenges of eating local.

Lastly, Lee calls out his wife who has supported his eat local goals.  Here.  Here.  This column is the Local Family and it is a team effort.  I do more than appreciate my wife.  I rely on her.  Do you think I have the patience to can tomatoes?  Breakdown a whole local chicken?  The Local Family works as hard as I do to live the local lifestyle.  I guarantee you will find the same thing.


One Comment

  1. leezukor says:


    Thank you so much for the great article. I can’t actually claim to disdain greasy spoons like Al’s, as it turns out. I just don’t choose them as often as I used to. I still drink coffee too (ROASTED locally, natch!), I just don’t need it in quite the same way I used to. :-) And I don’t put that non-dairy creamer stuff in any more.

    You point out all sorts of great things like the tyranny of packaged food. My favorites by far are those that have to do with building great new relationships. I’m excited to know the local Chicago people you mention, and I’m super impressed that you met up with Marc Shulman.

    I’m glad to know you! Thanks again,

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