Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Eating Locally- An Experiment

Starting tomorrow, August 19, 2009, I will attempt to only eat food that comes from the George Mason University Farmers’ Market or food that I have grown myself. The purpose of this experiment is two-fold; first of all, I want to find out first-hand how difficult it is to subsist on a local diet. Secondly, I’d like to support the farmers’ market, and by extension, its farmers, by drawing attention to it. The only exception to getting food either from the market or from my yard will be salt. Also, since this farmer’s market sells prepared foods such as soups and pies in addition to vegetables and dairy products, I need to decide whether or not I will include those in my diet. Although these foods are prepared locally, the ingredients in the food is not necessarily sourced locally. I suppose that since this is my first such attempt at such a feat, I will include some of these prepared foods. If all goes well, I’ll attempt it again without the soups and pies.

While I’m not a strict vegan, I am a diehard vegetarian and I try to eat as few dairy products as possible. That said, I’m confident that I’ll will in fact be eating a lot of dairy products this week. Eggs, butter, and yogurt will certainly be a large part of my diet. I normally only eat two meals a day, lunch and dinner, and often only eat one, dinner, however, during this week I will try and eat a full three meals per day as I’ve heard it’s better for me.

Since, to the chagrin of the home owners association that rules my neighborhood like a feudal lord, I have a small garden at home, I will be able to supplement what I purchase at the market with my own vegetables and herbs. This season I have tomatoes, peppers, some onions, beets and a few eggplants and potatoes. I also have basil, rosemary and thyme.

I realize that this whole endeavor has some flaws, the largest of which being that even if I succeed in only eating locally grown food for a week, implying that I could do it for longer, this would only hold true for a few months of the year. Having a truly local diet (in northern Virginia) for a sustained period of time would obviously be much more difficult in the colder months. In any case, as stated previously, this is an experiment so I’ll learn what I can from it. I’ll be sharing my thoughts and observations throughout the week via this blog and I definitely welcome comments, questions, and criticisms. With hope, at the end of the week I’ll have inspired at least one person, myself, to make locally grown food as big a part of my diet as possible.