This morning's Ithaca Journal includes an article on Local Foods Week, sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Consumers are urged to spend at least $5 this week on local food. That sounds easy. Register, take the pledge and be eligible to win gift certificates from retailers and restaurants that feature items harvested from the area.
My hippie self-sufficiency urges, which were pushed to a back burner when my kids were teenagers, have been reawakening. I'm raising some chickens, re-establishing beehives, planning part of the garden more for food than flowers. But the "Eat Local Challenge" is more than the self-sufficiency movement of the 60's and 70's. It's community based. It's not only "What can I grow for myself?" But also "How can I strengthen my community?"
I used to put homegrown meals on the table more often than not. We got to be somewhat like early settlers, going to market once a month for flour, coffee and salt. It's a life changing experience: learning how to produce life's essentials. First you learn to define "essential."
But my local food skills are rusty and I'll have to start planning ahead for the Eat Local Challenge next year. Tompkins County is fortunate to have a wonderful Farmers' Market and lots of local food producers. Wegman's has a local produce display right inside the main entrance and other local products throughout the store. Not to mention Greenstar Co-op.
Check out Foodroutes and their interactive map. Type in your zip code and get a map and list of local food resources. Or Local Harvest for an interactive map of Community Supported Agriculture and other farm subscriptions.