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Price Comparisons & My Top 10 Recipes

6 Aug

Well, I’ve come to the end of my 30 Day Locavore experiment. If it seemed to last longer than a month, you’re right. I extended this project by a week, because I was out of town one week during its 30 days; and even though I still did some shopping at farmers markets and cooking local in Montreal, I still wanted a full 30 days of doing this experiment at home. The Locavore project ended this past weekend, and this week sees my last two blog posts about it. Stay tuned in a week or so for my new project: 30 Days of only buying things with coupons, daily deals, deep discounts, etc!

My Bokashi compost bin is almost full!

First of all in this wrap-up post, I want to show you my price comparison between farmer’s market foods, two local supermarkets and Greenling. Susan Liebrock of the Sustainable Food Center (which manages several Austin farmer’s markets) challenged me to do this, so here are my findings. Two weeks ago, I visited the downtown farmer’s market and noted prices on the in-season foods for sale there. I then comparison-shopped at two local grocery stores: Whole Foods for high-end, and HEB for typical, as well as Greenling since I have written about them before. Continue reading

How Local Farming can End Hunger

3 Aug

Watch the Urban Roots film trailer

Have you heard of urban farming? That’s the question posed by Urban Roots, to everyday people on the streets of Detroit. Urban Roots is a documentary produced by Tree Media, about the urban farming phenomenon in that city. It’s a revolution that is taking abandoned, blight-ridden tracts of land in the inner city and turning them into urban farms, which are then used to feed people and combat poverty and hunger. The film defines urban agriculture as:

The practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around a village, town or city.

Detroit has lost more than half its population since the 1950s, going from close to 2 million to around 900,000 people in the space of decades. With the urban flight and relocation from the rust belt came thousands of abandoned buildings and vacant lots – more than 100,000 of them. Urban food pioneers have transformed many of those into farms to feed the community. Continue reading

Babies can eat Local & Organic, too

30 Jul

Locavoring isn’t just for adults! Despite its unfortunately hipster rep (have you ever seen the hysterical Portlandia episode about local eating gone nutso?), committing to a local/organic/sustainable diet is pretty darned old-fashioned. Not only is it healthier for you, the food simply tastes a whole lot better. And it’s great for small humans as well! I have a six-month-old niece, and on a recent trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, I discovered this thing called the Baby Magic Bullet.

It’s a food-processing system for making your own baby food, and I asked my sister if she was interested in making food at home for Peyton. She said yes, and so I snapped one up. Continue reading

Grow your own Personal or Community Garden

27 Jul

Anne Woods digs a garden for me in summer 2010

So here I am in the last week of my Locavore Project, and we’ve discussed farmer’s markets, local/organic food delivery, the yuck factor on processed/cheap foods, recipes, and eating local while traveling and dining at restaurants. But one thing you may not have considered is the possibility of actually growing your own food, in your very own garden or urban farm!

I started a garden for the first time last year, at my old house. Anne Woods of Woods Design, metal sculptor and gardener, dug an organic garden in my backyard. I have since moved to a loft condo on the East side, and so far have planted a little herb garden that I use every week. But now that the prime fall planting season of August to early October is nearly here, I plan to start several more containers of vegetable gardens. There’s virtually no space too small – whether you have lots of land, an average-size city yard, or a condo/apartment courtyard or patio like me, you can plant some kind of garden. Continue reading

Locavoring on the Road

25 Jul

My daughter, mother & nephew buy tomatoes at Marche Jean Talon for dinner

Right now I am in Montreal, Canada – a weeklong family trip that was booked during this month of my Locavore Challenge. When you’re traveling, it can be much more of a challenge to eat local and organic – though not impossible, and it’s always relatively easy to just eat healthy in general. Because of this trip, I am extending my Locavore challenge by an extra week at home, so it will run through August 2. I also decided to take this opportunity to write about eating local on the road.

First, a few resources. Below are some useful websites that can help you find restaurants serving local food around the US and even in other countries: Continue reading

Where Does Your Food Come From? The High Cost of Cheap Meat

22 Jul

As I’ve written before, the organic, eat-local, fresh food “movement” is not new or trendy or hippie. It’s actually very old-fashioned. It’s only been in the last few decades, since the 1950s, that pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, packaged, processed and mass-produced food has come into being – not to mention fast food.

And in that time, something strange has happened. In the space of a couple of generations, as a society we seem to have completely lost touch with where our food comes from, how it’s made, and who’s making it.

This is not natural. And it’s pretty scary. Continue reading

Top 15 Austin Restaurants that Source Locally

19 Jul

Foreign&Domestic

Being a locavore isn’t just about farmers markets and buying most of your fresh food locally. It’s also about knowing where to go when you’re eating out. A lot of restaurants still buy their food supplies from companies that are trucking their food in from all over, but many use as much local ingredients as they can, supporting area farmers, bakeries and other food artisans and only buying what they can’t get locally, from outside the area. Some, like East Side Cafe, even have their own gardens from which much of their menu comes.

But with a state as big as Texas, you have to be aware of what people really mean when they say “local.” Local can mean anything within the state – but we are not Rhode Island here. Within the state could still be hundreds of miles away, not local at all. Continue reading