This is awesome. Thanks much, Krista. You rock!
I agree with Malarie: viva butter! it makes nearly everything better.
What options exists for vegetarians in the form of protein other than eggs and dairy for eating locally? And what about vegans and raw foodies? The raw foods people eat a lot of tropical fruit, cacao, etc... Maca doesn't grow in these parts either.
Since quinoa grows in the Andes, I'm wondering if it could grow in the mountains here. And what about other gluten-free grains such as teff and sorgum--can we grow those in western WA?
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.
As a gluten-free vegetarian who is Latina (my body craves tropical fruit, etc) it seems too stressful for me to eat a 100% local diet. I applaud those who can do this.
I'm not going to start eating animals to make up for protein because that goes against my spiritual beliefs and my body doesn't like animal meats.
I think that people on gluten-free and allergen-free diets will find it too challenging and stressful to change their lifestyles again. Going gluten-free caused a few meltdowns in my life because it is expensive, but given the health benefits I went this route. Giving up corn (allergies) was even more difficult. I would give up dairy too if I felt I had more options. Nuts and a variety of beans (which we don't grow here), and rice are staples in my diet. I also cook with spices and use healing herbs which we don't grow in this region.
My hope is that we come up with alternative transportation that doesn't rely on fossil fuels to transport food from other parts of the world. However, I eat a lot of local produce, cheeses, and eggs during the summer and fall. These aren't excuses, but I feel that I've already made many sacrifices and live lightly as it is. I don't drive, don't have a cell phone (those pollute too), clean with natural cleaners, eat organic, and live simply. It all balances out in the end. I also don't take any pharmaceutical products that pollute the water. It's all natural here.
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.
After giving it much thought, I realized that I eat a lot of local produce and artisan foods from late spring to early fall during the farmers market season. The list includes: Local asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cheese, apricots, peaches, apples, zucchini, cucumbers, melons, winter squash, tomatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, green onions, parsley, kale, celery, cilantro, Brussels sprouts, brocoli, spinach, cherries, salad greens, eggs... (mostly organic).
I don't currently grow any food myself and shop at the farmers markets and food coops. I also started shopping at the Public Market. Like the vibe of that market.
I'm wondering if chia seeds and hemp could grow in this region since these seeds provide high protein sources. I know that hemp is illegal to grow in the US, but with changing cirumstances one could hope.