Eating Local: It’s About Values, Stupid
It was one of those memories… vague enough to give some doubt. But since it was a landmark moment, here it is.
I was attending a meeting of the American Cheese Society. In beautiful Burlington Vermont, the skies were blue, the air unseasonably hot—and local food was everywhere. Under an enormous tent, a keynote speaker stepped up to the podium.
The first slides are long forgotten, but a later one stood out. It read simply, “It’s About Values, Stupid.”
If life were a film, right then, the motion would have slowed. Insert long fade.
Because… THIS WAS THE ANSWER.
I began eating local/organic because I wanted to eat healthier. I joined a CSA because it was a cost-effective way to get good food. I did a buying club to keep getting good food in the winter.
But sometimes it all seemed too much. The buying club would have a crisis that took hours to resolve; how much could I buy elsewhere for my time? The CSA box would come during a work crisis and end up as compost. Sigh.
But every time I thought about quitting, I stayed. I chalked it up to being bad at handling change.
But now I thought about the buying club members. Many couldn’t afford top dollar organic. I believe that good food should be available to all.
And then the farmers… who tend their crops with utmost care, saving heirloom seeds, pioneering grass-fed meats, fighting for clean water. I believe the earth’s stewards deserve a livable wage.
In hindsight, I could see non-economic, value-based motives everywhere.
And the lightbulb went on. To think that all this time I believed I was eating local/organic for my health. It’s not surprising the math never worked.
But for some reason I always kept going. I guess the unconscious is smart.