September is here, and now is the time when children go back to school, the leaves begin to change and farm stands selling a colorful selection of fruits and vegetables dot the roads of Upstate New York.
Fresh vegetables are always a treat. Who can resist taking home a half dozen ears of super sweet corn for a mere couple of bucks, or a bag of red-ripe tomatoes?
But indulging in these seasonal treats isnt just delicious; its also great for the local economy and even the health of our planet.
Barbara Kingsolver, author of The Poisonwood Bible, has recently published a book entitled Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that tells the story of the authors family living for one full year by eating only food that is locally produced or from their own garden. The book documents the joy and frustration of cutting out all exotic foods and dining in tune with the seasons.
Kingsolver feels that the benefits of eating this way can far outweigh the hardships if we can only adjust our way of thinking.
If many of us would view this style of eating as deprivation, thats only because weve grown accustomed to the botanically outrageous condition of having everything, always. She writes.
Aside from the benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed food and stimulating the economy where you live, eating locally can also help reduce fossil fuel consumption. Kingsolvers husband, Steven L. Hopp, who contributed to the book along with their 19 year old daughter Camille Kingsolver, writes an excerpt entitled Oily Food.
If every U.S citizen ate just one meal a week composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our countrys oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. Thats not gallons, but barrels., he writes. Small changes in buying habits can make a big difference.