Opting In: The Locavore Within OR What June Cleaver and the Brady Bunch Can Teach Us About Eating Local.

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan depicts the start of the Organic Movement as a group of people who were opting-out of society.  The choice to eat organic was rebellious. Subversive.  It was a statement against the collective social order.

Maybe Organic has been normed in 40 years, or maybe Organic has cashed in some of its values to make a buck, but either way, “Organic” is hardly viewed as subversive and rebellious these days.  In the explosive growth of the Organic Movement, much of the ideals and hard definitions of organic have been lost.  or simply tossed aside.  Perhaps that’s why phrases like “Eat Local” and “Sustainable Farming” are popping up now.

The thing is, eating local and supporting sustainable farming practices doesn’t feel like opting-out to me.  Supporting local farmers and producers makes me feel more connected to society.  I’m thinking about the family who raises pigs on a couple of acres in their backyard.  I’m standing behind the woman who bakes bread every morning in her own kitchen while her kids are still sleeping.  I’m pulling fresh milk out of a cooler on my front porch every Monday morning – milk that was delivered by a milk truck {how June Cleaver is that?}.  And I’m patiently waiting for my own heirloom tomatoes to ripen so I can enjoy my hard work and their full flavor.

None of those things feel particularly rebellious, and they hardly sound subversive.  In fact, it sounds quite All-American to me.

Speaking of All-American.  The Brady Bunch even had Sam.  I need a Sam. {Sam was the local butcher, in case you’re forgetting your Brady Bunch cast}  I’m dreaming of the day when I can raise my own Thanksgiving Turkey, watch her get nice and plump, and then drop her off to Sam the Butcher.  A day or so later, Sam will knock on my kitchen door, smile, make a vaguely inappropriate but harmless comment likening me to some tasty meat, laugh, and then hand me my beautiful turkey.  It will be all ready to dress and roast and then serve.  I also wouldn’t mind passing off a few chickens here and there to Sam.

A girl can dream.

I’m taking my first real step towards the dream this week.  No.  I am not opening up a butcher shop {although to be completely honest, the thought has crossed my mind}.  No, I will be taking a more simplistic step towards opting-in.  I will be {a-hem} EATING LOCAL FOR ONE MONTH.  And, of course, I will be blogging about it.  That will keep me honest.

The Eat Local Challenge starts August 28th and goes for one week.  I figured one week doesn’t make for good blogging, so I upped it to one month.  Plus, I can eat for a week out of my garden, but a month will take real thought and probably some sacrifices.  {Chocolate.  Olive Oil.  sigh.}

Join me {and everyone else} this week and OPT-IN.  Maybe you will discover the locavore within.  Or June Cleaver.  Or Sam the Butcher.


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