Independence, locavore style

Kitchen Gardeners 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.

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