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wisekaren's picture

I finished "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" yesterday and am trying to think of some way to describe it other than LIFE-CHANGING. I had thought I was pretty good in terms of conscientious purchasing habits, but it turns out I have quite a ways to go. WOW. I am positively giddy with excitement thinking of how I can incorporate her teachings into my own life.
Karen

TracyK's picture

(post #48429, reply #29 of 134)

I'm not AT ALL saying we shouldn't do what we can. And of course we should encourage local agriculture. I've never indicated otherwise. I'm just saying there's a limit, and it's not the same for everyone.


Besides, who here buys strawberries in February? :-) (Besides Adele, since strawberry season in Florida encompasses February.)


CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #48429, reply #30 of 134)

Sorry if I misread you.





"the meat was prime,/the produce sublime,/but nevertheless/the dinner was/a horrible mess."
Samchang, 2007

TracyK's picture

(post #48429, reply #34 of 134)

Thank you.


As I see it, it's all about priorities, and doing what we can.


It is about priorities, I'll grant you that. But it's OK for people to have different priorities than you do.


Personally, I'd rather buy supermarket chicken and have money to go out to the movies or out to dinner now and again, than eat organic free-range birds and sit at home all the time. I'd rather live in an area of town that happens to be more expensive and buy grocery store vegetables in the winter, than live an hour away from my job and have the discretionary money and space to put up a season's worth of green beans. I don't have the budget for both, and I make my choices. 


People make their own priorities, and just because they may not be the same as yours doesn't always make them wrong.



CT poster in bad standing since 2000.


Edited 8/27/2007 9:31 pm ET by TracyK

MadMom's picture

(post #48429, reply #35 of 134)

You're totally right.  Sometimes people have little choice in their priorities.  If it's a matter of free range chicken or supermarket chicken and it's the difference between having a life and sitting home, well, I'd go for the supermarket stuff.  It's easy enough to say that x gallons of oil are used to transport it, but until the price of that oil shows up in the price at the grocery store, I might continue to buy it.  I'm trying to convince Willie Ray that strawberries in January really aren't worth eating, but it's an uphill battle.  We probably burn two or three gallons of gas getting to the Farmers' Market; are we really saving anything?  So many questions, and no really good answers. 




Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!
madnoodle's picture

(post #48429, reply #36 of 134)

So many questions, and no really good answers. 


True, and the more I think about it, the more my head hurts.  Which is better:  to buy local, non-organic, or non-local but organic?  And is local really better when I know my farmer friend is using a beat up old gas-guzzling pick up to ferry only a few pounds of produce to the market each week?  Tough questions.


Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

wisekaren's picture

(post #48429, reply #37 of 134)

I think the key is that we need to make an investment NOW in order to make it worthwhile for these small, local farmers to keep doing what they're doing -- and eventually do more of it. Then maybe others will follow suit too.

There are sacrifices to be made while change is coming about, and we each need to decide how much and what kind of sacrifice we are willing to make. For me, certain things are no-brainers -- for instance, I won't eat meat or poultry that was raised inhumanely. Not only don't I want to support that kind of industry, but I certainly don't want to eat meat that comes from an animal who spent its whole miserable little life eating god-knows-what and releasing stress hormones. That's worth cold hard cash to me, and if it means I have to cut corners elsewhere, I will.

We all have to make the decisions that work for us and our families; as a mom of young kids, I feel the need to make decisions that are right for their growing bodies AND their impressionable minds.
Karen

madnoodle's picture

(post #48429, reply #38 of 134)

For me, certain things are no-brainers -- for instance, I won't eat meat or poultry that was raised inhumanely.


As DH keeps pointing out to me, the most humane thing we could do is hunt our own food (easier here in the wilds for us than for you, obviously).  He's right, of course, but the whole idea turns my stomach.  I can't even kill a fish, though I'll happily eat them.


Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

Jean's picture

(post #48429, reply #39 of 134)

We do that, (we love venison) -- except for pork! Although DH did say there were known wild pigs in the county. Hmmm.



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
wisekaren's picture

(post #48429, reply #40 of 134)

He makes a good point: Let an animal live a normal life in the wild, and then kill it quickly and use as much of it as possible. But I'm with you in letting someone else kill my food for me. (And, for the record, I don't think that's terribly hypocritical, either.0
Karen

Jean's picture

(post #48429, reply #41 of 134)

I can't quite wrap my brain around the notion of wild cows. :)



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
wisekaren's picture

(post #48429, reply #42 of 134)

Better a wild cow than a mad one! ;-)

I guess I was thinking more of deer, rabbits, fish, and so on.
Karen

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #48429, reply #44 of 134)

I think the best answer is to do what you can.
I can't afford to buy free range organic <fill in the blank> every time.


But I do make a point to to buy the milk that has no hormones, at 3.79 a gallon, instead of the other stuff at 2 gallons for $5.99.  When I'm near the market that has the fabulous organic produce, I stop and buy what I reasonably can. we have a "farmer's market" up here on the mountain once a week in summer, but it's not local stuff. so do I spend 1/2 tank of gas to go to the natural foods market? no. but when I am down the mountain, I try to get there, if I can.

I did join our local citrus co-op and that gets me 10 pounds of oranges and grapefruit a week. it helps preserve our local growers and it makes me feel good, even if I'm giving a 5 pound bag to friends, since we can't eat 10 pounds of oranges every week.


~RuthAnn
foom!


~RuthAnn

gmunger's picture

(post #48429, reply #47 of 134)

I think the best answer is to do what you can.


Indeed. And getting back to the original topic, in order to maximize the "what you can" part, it helps to educate oneself. And, IMNSHO, Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, can provide a huge educational benefit. And they are also witty and entertaining, to boot.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #48429, reply #43 of 134)

Re: personal priorities -- true enough, but I'd never let that stop me from trying to advocate for what I believe is right, just as I know you'd not miss an opportunity to try to convince someone of your side of the argument. &8;^)





"the meat was prime,/the produce sublime,/but nevertheless/the dinner was/a horrible mess."
Samchang, 2007

smslaw's picture

(post #48429, reply #55 of 134)

Do we really need strawberries in February?


If we could really get strawberries in February, that would be one thing, but those pink cardboard things that get trucked in from CA after being dosed with Methyl whatever are not strawberries, anymore than those pink round things wrapped in cellophane we also get in February are tomatoes.  People should eat locally grown stuff to learn what food really can taste like.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #48429, reply #56 of 134)

I found myself getting alternately depressed and PO'd this summer as I watched people actually buy flats of those psesudo-berries from the supermarkets at the same time as our local farms were producing perfect, juicy, red jewels, for about the same price or less.





"the meat was prime,/the produce sublime,/but nevertheless/the dinner was/a horrible mess."
Samchang, 2007

gmunger's picture

(post #48429, reply #57 of 134)

Maybe farmer's markets should seek locations as near as possible to supermarkets....bet that would raise a ruckus.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
TessaK's picture

(post #48429, reply #77 of 134)

[i]Maybe farmer's markets should seek locations as near as possible to supermarkets....bet that would raise a ruckus[/i]

Not so. The new Whole Foods in Fairfax VA hosts a farmers market every Sunday in their parking lot, and actively promotes it. They also have some of the same foods that are sold at the farmers market in their store (for the rest of the week when there is no market.

gmunger's picture

(post #48429, reply #79 of 134)

I have heard about that. Say what you will about WF, they are astute marketers.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
Jean's picture

(post #48429, reply #58 of 134)

Well, it wasn't February, but it also was not during the very short local berry crop time, DH brought home some strawberries that were huge, red, and very sweet. They may have come from FL or maybe CA, but I couldn't find anything wrong with them. And here's a point--those growers could not possibly have marketed all their berries locally, unless to a canning/freezing company, and that stuff needs to be trucked too. I think the reality is that things are not about to change much, in spite  of what may be the ideal. I don't want to go back to the days of my childhood when the gift of an orange from my Sunday school teacher at Christmas time was a bigger treat than chocolate!


Now you can all run me out of town on a rail.




Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
gmunger's picture

(post #48429, reply #59 of 134)

Now you can all run me out of town on a rail.


Tarred and feathered! (:


It's true, Jean, I have had decent CA strawberries recently. And good New Zealand apples, etc.  And like I commented earlier, some of my own produce turns out not so good sometimes ): But...


....and that stuff needs to be trucked too. I think the reality is that things are not about to change much....


Except that the way things work now is premised on cheap, abundant oil. And there is increasing realization that things are about to change, like it or not.


It's complicated. Hard to wrap my mind around all the implications. I have found some of the discussions over at grist.org to be helpful. There's some really bright folks that blog there. And the conversations, while sometimes lively, are usually quite civil. Here's a good one that posted not long ago that's germane to this topic.


I understand your viewpoint Jean. I appreciate that we can over-romanticise the "good old days". But I'm also not optimistic about the status quo.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
smslaw's picture

(post #48429, reply #60 of 134)

It's true, Jean, I have had decent CA strawberries recently. And good New Zealand apples


I can truthfully say that I have never, not once had a decent California strawberry here in ME or in MA.  As to New Zealand, if anyone loves pears, next spring (in our hemishere) try Taylor's Gold Pears.  Once you eat one, every other pear tastes like a California strawberry.


I don't object to the availability of decent produce out of season, or being able to buy an Avocado or Mango here in NE.  I really hate it when truly odious crap is transported over thousands of miles because it's too much trouble for markets to switch suppliers and offer local. Here in Maine the "wild" blueberries are being picked.  They are available for sale ($2 a pint) everywhere on the side of the road.  The supermarkets are selling the sour highbush berries from somewhere else, even though the much sweeter local berries are being harvested by the ton in the same town.


Don't even get me started on restaurants that serve pseudotomatoes in August.

gmunger's picture

(post #48429, reply #63 of 134)

To reiterate about "peak oil", and to borrow from Bob Dylan:


Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
smslaw's picture

(post #48429, reply #71 of 134)

don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

gmunger's picture

(post #48429, reply #72 of 134)

Awesome!

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
thecooktoo's picture

(post #48429, reply #73 of 134)

We are all being snookered to a certain degree with free range and organic terminology.  Here is a quote I found recently, and I recall an article in Time pointing out that in a chicken house holding 25000 birds, there was one 3 foot square opening into a fenced yard that wasn't even 25 foot square.  But that qualifies all 25000 birds as free range, hence selling for twice the price of regular super market brands.


 


"Birds raised in the United States for meat - mainly chickens and turkeys - may be sold as "range" if they have U.S. Department of Agriculture certified access to the outdoors.. No other criteria, such as environmental quality, size of area, number of birds, or space per bird, are included in this term. A USDA staffer told UPC, "Places I've visited may have just a gravel yard with no alfalfa or other vegetation. The birds can exercise, but cannot range--that is, sustain themselves."


Jim

TracyK's picture

(post #48429, reply #61 of 134)

I haven't read her book yet, so perhaps she addresses it. But does she give any stats as to how many barrels of oil are used to transport the food supply?


I wonder how it compares with the 1.5 billion barrels used annually just to produce plastic bottles for the ubiquitous bottled water that so many folks drink as if cheap, energy-efficient tap water didn't come directly to our homes? Or the 12 million barrels that go towards making the plastic bags that get thrown into landfills, waterways, forests, etc.?


My larger point is, there are many many ways that we can choose to lessen our personal impact on the environment, and there is nothing inherently wrong with someone choosing to address it by carefully choosing the types of products they do or do not buy, use, or throw away, rather than what kind of food they eat. Someone using five or ten non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to transport their locally grown organic produce from market to home is likely negating the positive impact they make by buying local.


 


CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

gmunger's picture

(post #48429, reply #64 of 134)

I haven't read her book yet, so perhaps she addresses it. But does she give any stats as to how many barrels of oil are used to transport the food supply?


Kingsolver? I don't recall. But it's complicated.


My larger point is, there are many many ways that we can choose to lessen our personal impact on the environment, and there is nothing inherently wrong with someone choosing to address it by carefully choosing the types of products they do or do not buy, use, or throw away, rather than what kind of food they eat. Someone using five or ten non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to transport their locally grown organic produce from market to home is likely negating the positive impact they make by buying local.


Yep. Again, it's complicated. But how we choose to feed ourselves, individually and collectively, has profound health, economic, social AND environmental implications. I know you're not suggesting we ignore these implications in favor of strictly focusing instead on plastic bags? Personally, I hope folks try to do as much as they can, however they can. I hope they don't see it as an either/or proposition. But it is still a free country, right? Or has Cheney taken over in a coup while I write this?


And back to the original post.... the great value of the books by Pollan and Kingsolver is they illuminate so many of the implications I refer to above, in ways that many folks (myself included) had not previously considered. That's the simple, straightforward part; that there's some complicated stuff to consider.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
AnnL's picture

(post #48429, reply #65 of 134)

Or has Cheney taken over in a coup while I write this?


Please don't joke about this.  My latest nightmare is that since Bin Laden is still out there and the Taliban is taking control of Afghanistan again, that Bush & Co. will institute some sort of emergency martial law saying that they must "stay the course" in the fight against terror or some such insanity. 


Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

TracyK's picture

(post #48429, reply #66 of 134)

I know you're not suggesting we ignore these implications in favor of strictly focusing instead on plastic bags?


Good grief. Of course I'm not.


And I fail to see how my previous post was unclear, but I'll say it again:


There are many many ways that we can choose to lessen our personal impact on the environment, and there is nothing inherently wrong with someone choosing to address it by carefully choosing the types of products they do or do not buy, use, or throw away, rather than what kind of food they eat.


As I've already stated, it is simply not in my budget to always buy pastured meats or organic chicken, though I do occasionally. However, there are many many steps I can (and do) take that ARE within my budget that also have positive health, economic, social and environmental implications.


And I think people should get credit for the steps they DO take, that they CAN take, rather than being constantly castigated for what they don't do.


I certainly think the recent increase in awareness of and education about the benefits of eating seasonally and locally will have an impact on behavior, to some degree. And I think we can all agree that's a good thing.


CT poster in bad standing since 2000.