International, the terrific local-food organization whose
advocacy helped to establish the White House vegetable garden, used
to run a wonderful event called Food Independence Day. Folks
from all over the country would participate online and pledge to
eat all or part of their Independence Day meal from local sources.
On an interactive map, you could see who was growing, picking
buying, and cooking what.
I'm not sure what happened to Food Independence Day--the site
has no reference to it this year--but that's no reason not to
celebrate your local pickings anyway. All over the US, the
stands and gardens are filling up. Grab the last of the
strawberries, the snap peas, the first of the corn and squash, the
blueberries! Even if you live in chilly horticultural Zone 3,
chances are you've got local leaves and peas. Maybe you're
lucky enough to have local meat or chicken, too.
For the last 3 weeks or so, we've been celebrating our
independence from the produce aisle. My kids are celebrating
their independence from school, which means we may be liberating
the corn from the school's greenhouse (which we look after in the
summer), too. I also plan to celebrate my independence from the
treadmill. (One thing I won't be celebrating this year is my
independence from cooking, as we're gathering at my crazy friend
Mark's house to smoke a turkey.)
It's hard to choose the best thing about food independence: is
it the vastly superior taste of the food? Is it the lower
impact on our very own wallets? Is it the support for local
growers in our communities? Is it the reduced dependence on
fuel to transport and cool produce? Red, white, and blue may
be flying high everywhere tomorrow, but to me the most patriotic
color just has to be green.