All Around Locavore

Friday, July 23, 2010
My parents did what they could to raise their children as independent thinkers. We ate mostly vegetarian fare while growing up and we didn’t have a t.v. Consequently, as a teenager, I ate up popular culture like it was going out of style. I loved leafing through teen magazines and looking at all the beautiful photo shoots of beauty products. I started to judge things by their brand name. In college, my penchant for brand names shifted towards something my roommate liked to call “importitis.” While it’s true that my Toyota was probably actually made in the U.S., I do tend to get a little gushy about anything that came from across the pond: especially HobNobs. Mmmm. . . .

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about what we put in and on our bodies. Every time my book group meets, it seems someone else has read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle or something by Michael Pollan. Today Food Inc. showed up from Netflix. The general consensus seems to be that we should eat locally and seasonally and try to wean ourselves from overlooked luxuries like fresh raspberries in January. Oh, and the petroleum products? Those should go.

With the abundance of blueberries out in the woods and a garden that’s holding its own, it’s easy to catch on to eating locally. But when you live in the woods, internet shopping seems inevitable. And sometimes I worry that a little too much of my hard earned cash goes to little website that starts with an “A” and ends with an “N” and has “dot com” in it. When you’re shopping solely by price tag, there has to be some sort of cost.

So I’m glad to see so many great (pretty) local products that are also environmentally friendly.

Between my little stint as a tourist in my hometown on my last days off and happening to work at place with a gift shop stocked with wonderful locally crafted items, this summer I’m starting to realizing that there are a lot of great local products out there. In this shaky economic time, I’d rather buy something and know that someone nearby directly benefits from the purchase. 

Why buy familiar brand name cleaning products that are filled with all sorts of yucky chemicals when you can pay a little more and use environmentally friendly Mrs. Meyers? (A Minneapolis company and yes, I do realize plenty of box stores are based in the Twin Cities too)

I’m glad there are Minnesota companies, like Sunleaf Naturals, that offer eco-conscious personal hygiene products.

I’m glad for the plethora of local shops in my hometown that offer local gift items.

Am I ready to adopt a 100-mile diet like some locavores? Probably not. But I’m ready to stop settling for what mass-produced products box stores offer and ready to start reading my labels a little more carefully. I’m willing to pay a little bit more. In the long run, I think it’ll be worth it.

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