Today is the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day.
Things have changed in forty years: the state of the world has considerably worsened, however, the green movement is now mainstream, no longer relegated to fringe groups and back to the landers. The world has changed, but the stakes remain the same: we all need to do more than our fair share to clean up our act.
I've thought a lot about today's post, I've mentally written several drafts, while drowning under an all too heavy work load. Then I got a call from London. The sky was blue, and the sun was out all week-end, one would have never known there was a cloud of toxic ashes looming overhead, were it not for the fact that there was no aerial noise, and the streets of London were eerily empty. The previous week was a holiday in the UK, and many Londoners were stuck in airports abroad. As was a lot of food: restaurants and supermarkets in the UK were beginning to see a food shortage at the beginning of the week. Food growers in Africa and the Netherlands were stuck with overstock that could not be shipped out.
The effects of the ash cloud were not as drastic in North America. In fact, unless you had travel plans or work in that sector, you were most likely quite unaffected by the whole event. So what's it all have to do with Earth Day and food? Quite a lot.
Eating local is all about reducing one's food miles; supporting small producers; living more sustainably... It is also about food security. The North American food chain was pretty much unaffected by the ash cloud -unless you are an aficionado of super fine greenbeans from Kenya- but it could have been. Buying your food from a local farmer, demanding that your supermarket purchases more local produce will not only reduce your food's carbon footprint, it will help a local farmer stay in business.
Eating local does not need to be a whole lifestyle, it can be a tiny adjustment to your daily life, just like recycling and composting. It can be as easy as buying local greenhouse produce instead of imported. If you are a little more committed to living green, you can grow a portion of your own food or join a CSA.
Make every day Earth Day. Eat local.