Thursday, September 4, 2008

Local foods

More than fifty varieties of bananas grown in Mto Wa Mbu, Tanzania

I went to a meeting today of a newly formed local foods group. What fun and how refreshing for folks in a conservative state (and formerly largely agricultural) in the Southern U.S. to think about how to encourage locally-grown foods. As our (previously farm and pasture land) is being gobbled up for subdivisions and development sprawl, it's a welcome trend to try to encourage promoting local producers and growers, providing an incentive to grow vegetables and fruits for local markets.
Schoolteacher carrying bananas in Amani, Tanzania
I love to 'grow my own,' of course, but I'm reluctant (so far) to get on the freezing and canning track, and my gardening companion LOVES his daily banana with cereal. I don't have the heart to explain to him about the global cost of banana production, the exposure of some farmworkers to pesticides, the risks of a single major banana variety, etc. Oh, dear, I probably at least need to always buy organic bananas or seek out the small varieties that support diversity of bananas.

Bananas, Hoi An, Vietnam
My own personal fruit passion is apples. I love apples -- and the idea of not having an apple each day after lunch is not a welcome one. I'm not keen on buying an apple from Chile or New Zealand, and we've got fabulous local apples now until early November, but that leaves a lot of open time in which I'm interested in eating apples.

But, I think I'll get a small energy-efficient freezer to start storing the growing season's bounty -- why not have roasted tomatoes for sauce, fresh-cut green beans, or onions and peppers?

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