Monday, July 25, 2011

Eating Local

Silverbeet seedling
Can you hear that?  The almost imperceptible hum in the background?  That's the garden farm rousing from winter slumber and tingling it's roots and wriggling it's leaves.  Coming back to fecund production.  Which is all quite delightful, but we are going further into the sustainable jigsaw and taking steps towards eating locally.  This means we will wean ourselves off ultra processed franchise foods, lessen our dependence on corporate food staples, and importantly, sustain this buying ethic from here on.

Here's some revolutionary inspiration from Tom Hodgkinson.

"It seems obvious that if we could just extinguish consumer desires and stop shopping, we would get a lot closer to everyday liberty, simply because we wouldn't have to do so much work.  This is not to say that one can't enjoy luxuries, it's just that we shouldn't take them seriously as a kind of goal in life.  Don't make luxury into a meaning."

The interconnectedness of rejecting corporate food, being able to support yourself, and having more time to just be is really so obvious to me.  It is as simple as if you don't update the SUV, you won't have to work weekends, and then you can spend that time with your daughter, so she will grow up feeling valued and loved.  By disentangling ourselves from debt and financial instruments, I will be self determining and that is so empowering.  So, back to the garden and food.

The first step was establishing our garden farm as much as we could to be productive for table food.  Growing your own food can only go so far realistically on a suburban block.  Sure, I have fruit trees, chickens and herbs and vegetables, but eating local is a major step.

 So how do we actually go about this?

The first step is a mind set.  Cut Franchise Food to Zero.  The whole rationale behind the franchise is to replicate systems so that the end product is identical across the entire territory, which is great for corporate measurement, graphs, percentages and reducing the complexity of a small business to a single figure.  This sameness and homogeneity across the brand brings to mind images of chickens pecking at little beige pellets on conveyor belts.  It presents us with no choice so we come to fear the unknown or things that are simply different.  Not good.

So everything from the stationery to the flour to the staff recruitment is managed off site, deals are on a grand national scale and handshakes made by people thousands of miles away from the kitchen, most likely in suits with percentages and margins uppermost in their minds.  The actual couple who run the franchise at the frontline are managers with debt equity in the business, harried by "regional impressive title" reps to maintain standards.

Not much talk of food or flavour going on, let alone where it is farmed, or how it is farmed, or the farm methods.  So we are saying no the McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut etc.  Any franchise that presents reheated ultra processed food has got to go.  Just like going sober and giving up alcohol, I'm quite sure this will be a slow burn, but have major lifestyle impacts on my life.  Let alone the health benefits of not putting that crap into my body.

But I don't want to specifically head off in the direction of health food exactly, not just yet.  What I am saying is when you are out and about and you have the children with you, don't go to a franchise outlet, but instead go to the local burger joint, local charcoal chicken joint or sandwich bar.

This way, you are not supporting the multi-layered faceless corporate edifice, but instead supporting the local most likely husband and wife business, who make their own decisions on buying the food, choosing their suppliers based on local relationships, and are living independently of a franchise system monitoring their business behaviour.  See where I'm heading?

This way, you are supporting a travelling sales rep who visits the stores in his territory, supporting a local property investor who leases the building, supporting local employment that is not part of some huge human resources department, but is based on real face to face negotiation.  The local business negotiates with a local supplier and creates local connections and jobs - all miles away from the wheeling and dealing of the city.

Eating local is the next step.  I'm coming up to that soon, just have to let these thoughts percolate for now.

1 comment:

  1. what do your children do for entertainment? i have 3 toddlers and have no clue how they would manage without television. especially in hot louisiana summers when you cant play outside


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