So Ange & I recently read a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I had received the book for Christmas last year (I always get TONS of books and it usually keeps me busy over the course of the year) and had dedicated it as one of my summer reads, so it was prominently displayed on my bookshelf. I am a reading fanatic and I've been trying to encourage Ange to become more of a reader. So one day Ange was checking out my books and saw it and thought it sounded pretty cool. She read it while I was in Senegal & The Gambia and absolutely loved it. So as soon as I returned home she urged me to move it to next on the list. So I started it slowly between my two trips and brought it with me to Nigeria where I whipped through it. Besides the fact that it was a fantastic book, it was also fun to read it together so we could both learn from it and share the experience.
Basically the book is about eating locally produced food. The Kingsolver-Hopp family moved back to their family farm and decided to embark on a family mission to only eat locally produced food for a year. They grew a lot of their own, but also participated in the local economy of farmer's markets and local dairy farms, etc. Barbara (a highly acclaimed writer of several popular American novels) wrote the main narrative, but her husband, who is a professor of biology, added small snippets throughout that reflected on some facts of the global business of food and its impact on the environment, economy and other things, and her daughter, a college student interested in dietetics and biology, wrote about her perspective as a teenager embarking on the journey as well as including menus and recipes. It was a great book that we both loved, and it also inspired us both. We are both into healthy food and the book brought up a lot of good points about why local is better. To summarize, the food is healthier, it's better for the environment (in several ways), and it's better for communities (by way of supporting farmers directly rather than big agro-business).
While the Kingsolver-Hopp family did the "extreme" end of things, she makes it a point to say that not everyone needs to have their own farm and go as in-depth as them (and acknowledges not everyone could even if they wanted to) but even small changes can be good for all of the above summary points. Ange and I both support this point so we have decided to undertake a small project of our own. As much as we can we are trying to buy our food at local farmer's markets. We certainly aren't going totally nutso, but we are trying to build our menus around the food that is in-season and available at the market.
Last weekend was our initial weekend and we visited the Zionsville Farmer's Market. We had so much fun visiting all the booths and seeing what was available. We spent about $40 and bought enough food for about half of what we ate that week. Plus some items that will last for longer than a week. Take a look at the spread (click to zoom in):
We were a little timid this first week, not knowing what we'd need and not really having a plan of action. We just browsed around and grabbed whatever we thought might be good. Based on this experience we were able to start thinking about it a little more and have come up with a better plan for this weekend.
The added bonus is that we got to spend time together and we were so excited about the whole thing it was better than going out on a fancy date!