As if the sometimes overwhelming commitment weren’t enough, confusion in recent years over whether or not a locavore diet is “worth it” — not just for ourselves, but for the environment — has added a new dimension of frustration for budding farmer’s market foodies.
A recent article from Newsweek, ‘Swallowing Eco Hype‘, highlights an interview with author James E. McWilliams who, despite his book’s title, Just Food: How Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, claims not to be entirely anti-locavore himself.
While McWilliams and I may not see eye-to-eye on every point of the argument – few of them, indeed — there’s a strong case to be made for some of the underlying fundamentals to the approach he has taken in tackling the problem at hand.
At the end of the interview he acknowledges an aspect of the movement to green our eating habits that I feel is drastically under-addressed in locavore circles and otherwise. With regard to giving up the consumption of meat, a product notorious for it’s incredible carbon footprint he says:
It’s a sacrifice. That’s something that’s missing in a lot of our discussions about environmentalism and sustainability—the idea of sacrifice. What kind of personal sacrifices are we willing to make?
Here, he is on to something. Sacrifice; it’s a concept not well known to most Americans, myself included. We sacrifice for our children, for our spouses, but rarely do we walk the thin limb that leads to sacrifice for a greater good. The concept, being utterly foreign, is, simply put, frightening.
Those that have taken the plunge are reluctant to disclose the full spectrum of what it meant to fully sacrifice any given portion of their desires lest they scare someone off, put themselves out there too fully. Those wanting to dip their toes in the pool are left out in the cold; unsure of where to begin, how to take that first step. And the vicious cycle carries on.
After all, how can we be sure what personal sacrifices we are willing to make if we do not even know what those sacrifices entail?
One of my favorite people has been known, during any particularly trying moment in time, to proclaim “It’s only temporary!” Anything, her reasoning goes, can be endured for a period of time that does not extend to forever. I’ve adored the concept since the first time she shared. It’s only temporary.
Which is exactly what the fifth annual Eat Local Challenge is; temporary. Unsure what sacrifices you’re willing to make? Or even which are necessary at all? I encourage you to try the Eat Local Challenge this month. You may surprise yourself!