We’re almost one week into our 100-Mile Food Journey and it’s been rather dull. Maybe my expectations were a little too high. I was expecting this week to be overwhelmingly pivotal: feelings would range from excitement to tearing my hair out in desperation. But in reality, not much has changed. It’s all been rather anti-climactic.
Realistically, transitioning our food over to strictly local food does not happen overnight. The sad truth is that we have enough food stored up in our pantry to eat like non-locals for likely a month. The even sadder thing? If we hadn’t pledged to eat local food for the next year, I’d likely be standing in front of the same (chock-full) pantry, thinking we had nothing to eat. You’d likely find me in the grocery store, pushing a cart brimming with close to $100 worth of completely unnecessary food. Hence I guess so far this week I’ve learned that even though we normally operate on a pretty strict grocery budget, we are still extremely privileged and entitled consumers of our food.
It appears that the changes we are experiencing are happening incrementally rather than at momentous proportions. For example, I now have a Rubbermaid tote in our pantry filled with 60 lbs of locally grown green lentils. I’ve been harvesting chamomile flowers, mint leaves and lemon verbena at rapid speed, drying them at their peak so that we can have herbal tea once the coffee can is emptied. I’ve become obsessed (bordering on religious fanaticism) with the daily ritual of feeding my sourdough starter, beaming with parental pride as it rises, falls, and forms bubbles.
Meal planning has begun to look a lot different. Instead of deciding what we’re going to eat before heading to the market, I let the market dictate what we’ll be eating based on the local fruits and vegetables that are on offer. Sure, I may plan to have peas and strawberries (which are delicious at this time of year!) on the menu, but if I arrive at the market too late, or someone has snatched them up before me, or it wasn’t a great yield in the field this week, then I’m back to square one. I’m learning to be a bit more flexible with my meal planning.
So if you were to ask me if it’s been an earth-shattering, life-altering first week of eating local food, I would say “no.” The changes have been subtle. Maybe ask me again in a couple of weeks when our coffee tin is empty, the sugar bag is depleted and the last box of Kraft Dinner has ceremonially been consumed.