This is awesome. Thanks much, Krista. You rock!
I agree with Malarie: viva butter! it makes nearly everything better.
Local vegetarian proteins: dry beans, dry soup peas, garbanzos, flax seed, and as you said, eggs. Dairy for those not allergic. Potatoes actually have a good amount of protein in them, especially when dry-farmed.
Local raw foods that are protein: hazelnuts, walnuts, ground flax seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (try Styrian pumpkin which has hulless seeds). Sprouted wheat as well for those not gluten-intolerant.
Gluten-free grains that grow well here are flax seed, buckwheat, and millet. Qunioa and amaranth are challenging but worth continuing experimenting with. Sorghum and teff don't mature well in our climate.
I'm probably forgetting some things but that's what i can think of off the top of my head.
This is a great thing you've started. I'm inspired to add to your list. I'll assess our current diet and add to your list in a few days.
I'm reviewing some notes I made when David and I did the Eat Local challenge a few years ago for one week. We attempted to do 100% of our diet with foods from only Whatcom Skagit and Island Counties. It's not hard to find ample foods from that limited area during September. The most difficult part was changing routines... planning, shopping and taking more time to cook differently. Also salt and oil/fats where challenging as I rely on olive oil and don't eat butter. Kelp as a total salt substitute is not so great even though I love kelp. It doesn't go with everything. And we didn't get around to dehydrating sea water to get the salt.
I think it would be great if everyone challenged themselves to do a totally local diet for a few days or a week once in a while as there is no replacing actual experience with this kind of thing.
Hi Angela & Others,
My two cents on the Eat Local Challenge is this:
It's far more difficult and daunting to eat 100% local for a few days or a week than it is to make a committment to eat a higher percentage (but not 100%) of local foods year round. I personally feel that it takes a lot of a) searching for food sources, b) changing of shopping and cooking habits, and c) adapting to a different diet in order to truly eat more locally in a significant way. This all takes time and real committment and is pretty hard to make that all happen with the snap of the fingers. It is great to bring out the awareness of local foods through things like Eat Local Month and the Eat Local Challenge, but if folks really want to make a change and have real effect, a focus on year-round local eating is most important.
The other side effect of the Eat Local Month is that it takes place at a time of year when it's real easy to just walk down to the Farmer's Market and find a bounty of fresh, local food for a well-rounded diet. Try that in January or April and you are S.O.L. Try it on a limited budget any time of year and you are S.O.L.
As a farmer I am convinced I could eat year round, a very well-balanced diet, from crops and animals that I can grow and process myself. I don't do so, but I know I have the skills to survive quite contentedly if ever I did give up my agave syrup, coconut milk, chocolate, and those darn rice chips from Deal's Only. The problem is, it's a lot of labor with very little return for things like hand harvested and threshed beans and grain, eggs and meat and nuts. We need to get as many folks as possible growing these things for themselves and their families and friends and neighbors, because these things are far better grown on a small scale in this climate rather than depending on tractors and large farmers to supply us all with the food like we are so used to with our farmer's market veggies.
That said, I applaud everybody who gives it a shot, especially if they are not gardeners and have to do the hard work of hunting down a complete diet to eat locally even if just for a week. It is one of the very most important things that can be done right now.
I totally agree with everything you say Krista. Especially this part: ..."if folks really want to make a change and have real effect, a focus on year-round local eating is most important. "
One week of 100% local eating is not the same as year round eating a high percentage of local. I just think it is a real eye opener experience to try to do 100% local for a time.
David and I are not 100% local eaters. But we are committed to continually increasing our local sources of food and learning to grow more of our own. I love to support local growers. There is so much to learn at every step of the process from building soil to growing to harvesting to processing to preserving to cooking to composting etc....any bit of this that we do are important steps.
I also think one of the biggest inhibitors to making changes it trying to do too much at once and getting burnt out. So what ever small steps people can do on goingly might be a better approach.
It's true that we all have our own challenges and must find where we can make the most difference in a way that we will be able to stick with and live with. Not having a car is hugely important. I live in the County now and have a very difficult time not driving, but I grow most of my own food. When I lived in town my growing options were more limited but I mostly rode the bus, biked, and walked. It's a trade off and I hope someday I will be able to tackle the driving issue (get a diesel and convert to veggie oil or some other waste product).
I am also gluten-free and completely dairy free. I am also hypoglycemic so I can't use our local sugar (honey). I actually found that since I had went through those major dietary changes and discovered it wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be, it made it far easier for me to approach other dietary changes, such as eating more locally. Going GF taught me to cook for myself and readjust my lifestyle and my expectations. I realized that we have SO MANY OPTIONS for food in this country. However, corn is a very important staple food to me now, since I can grow lots of it easily and make my own tortillas and such. I am sorry you are allergic to corn as that would be really difficult for my local eating strategy. Beans, however, grow fabulously here. You just have to have the right varieties. I've identified loads of good early-maturing dry beans. Soup peas too.
Good luck, and I applaud you for doing what you can and taking care of your body's needs at the same time.it's an ongoing journey for all of us.
Flax seed grows very easily here and is a good nutrient-dense, jam-packed good solid vegetable protein. I don't know anything about growing chia, and not sure if we have a long enough dry season for hemp either, but haven't researched it. Good thoughts. High protein seeds are great to focus on. We can grow sunflowers (competing with birds) and there is a variety of pumpkin that gives a hulless pumpkin seed that grows well here also (Styrian pumpkin).
For winter, try getting to know some folks with bigger gardens and teaming up to grow some kale, brussels sprouts, rutabaga and leeks, plus carrots and beets for fall harvest and winter root-cellar type storage. You can also buy things like storage onions, winter squash, and potatoes from the farmers at reduced bulk prices in the late fall, and store them in your garage or basement if you have one, and eat on them all winter. No reason to only go local from spring to fall. Good Luck!
Soybeans will grow here during a hot summer but are tricky to grow during a summer like this one. I don't expect much of a harvest this year. You don't need specialized machinery to grow them on a homestead scale, everything is done by hand and not a big deal. We just need more small farmers instead of a few large ones that need equipment to grow massive quanitities.
Sesame is a hot season plant. Hazelnut butter instead, perhaps?
Crops for Year round storage:Hazel nuts, Walnuts
Root cellaring: (for us just cold storage, without any processing needed, currently using the garage and fridge): sunchokes, cabbage, burdock root
Fall Harvest: Kale, Parsley, Snap peas (well I got an early fall crop one year),
Winter Gardening: Parsley, Mache and Kale (overwintered in cold frame)
Herbs for drying/seasonings: kale, chives, (kelp)
Foraged (wilds used fresh, and/or dehydrated): Red clover blossoms, dandelion leaf and root, plantain leaf and seeds, burdock root, Purslane, chickweed, lambs quarter, Kelp, Fucus,
Oils/Fats: Chicken and bacon fat, Butter, ground hazelnut
Foraged Food, Preserved: Red Clover Blossom, Nettle,
Cultured Foods and Condiments: Apple Cider Vinegar, Weed and Herb vinegars, Pesto from parsley or nettles with pumpkin seed and garlic,
Canned Foods: Tomato sauces, syrup using local blackberries, currants and elderberries, Chicken bone broth including roots and herbs, Pears, Cherries, Blackberries.
Frozen: Green beans,
I'm adding this category:
Dehydrated Foods: Red Clover Bloosoms, comfrey leaf, Kale, winter squash, Zucchini, Burdock, Nettle, Oat tops and straw...I use these for infusions or soup broths
Dairy (in very small amounts): Butter, Yogurt, Cheese, Cream, Milk
Meat/Poultry/Fish: Chicken, Turkey, ( And Rarely:Pork, Salmon, Beef, Oysters)
Bee Products: We have used local honey (and bees wax) but currently not consuming honey. Seeking a source of local honey where the beekeepers allow their bees to consume some or most of their honey, (rather than being fed sugar)...so only taking surplus for human consumption. We want to support bee keeping practices that allow bees to have their own honey, and where sugar is given only to fill in where they don't have enough honey.