Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What's this?

I believe in local food. Like many Bay Area progressive foodies, I worship at the table of Michael Pollan, Sustainable Table and eating local.

Locally grown food has many advantages. If you visit the farm, you see what the farmer is doing to your food. No worries about CAFOs, fertilization with dangerous products or other perils. You'll have the truth in front of you, as well as inside of you. A relationship with a trustworthy farmer is a beautiful thing indeed. And delicious.

But who can you trust more than yourself? And who knows what you like to eat better than you? If you garden instead of shop (well, you won't be able to get away from going to the grocery store. Growing enough grain for yourself is nearly a full-time job, even if you're growing quinoa), your food will require much less shipping, be more fresh and thus nutritious, and be exactly what you want. Plant what you love to eat, and it will grow.

If you want to really reduce your ecological footprint (besides ditching your car and never riding an airplane), reduce the amount of food you throw away. If you harvest your food when you eat it, you won't waste much. And so tasty!

Before you sheet mulch your lawn and start planting, first you need to figure out what you eat. I always tell people to grow herbs first. With herbs, a little goes a long way, they're pretty insect resistant and don't need excellent soil. Then grow salad greens. Then, if you still have room, time and energy grow strawberries. *Nothing* beats a just-picked, homegrown strawberry, warm from the sun. *runs outside to check if strawberries are ripe yet. no. damn*

But your priorities are going to be different. Maybe you hate strawberries, never cook with herbs and are allergic to salad. Maybe a whole bed of brussels sprouts is what does it for you. My neighbors only grow mustard greens and rice (which they never harvest, oddly enough).

Step 1: Figure out what you eat. This should be easy.
Step 2: Figure out what of 1 you can grow given your situation (climate, sunlight, space, time and energy). This will require some research.
Step 3: Subtract 2 from 1. This will yield what you should grow.

Now you can start sheet mulching your lawn. I recommend refrigerator boxes.

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