Thursday, April 14, 2011

Locavores Unite!

I've just finished reading (well, technically, listening to on audio) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver's book about her family's year-long experiment in eating only locally-produced food, much of it grown, raised, or produced right on their own Virginia farm. Though I found the book to be a little on the preachy side (maybe listening to the author's narration rather than reading enhanced that perception), I also discovered a lot of common sense advice about the virtues of consuming fresh food that hasn't been transported from some unidentified location. I can't see myself as a pure locavore (I do love bananas!), but I feel the book has influenced my approach to food.

We've recently added The Locavore's Handbook: the Busy Person"s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget, by Leda Meredith, to the library's collection. This author also undertook a local eating experiment she calls The 250, because she restricted herself to food produced within 250 miles of her home. In a conversational style, she describes her experience and provides guidance to others considering the locavore life. She writes about community-supported gardens, food coops, farmers' markets, and growing your own fruits and veggies. She includes recipes and basic directions for preserving foods in season. This book is a good place to start if you're curious about the whys and wherefores of eating locally.

Luckily for Merrimack residents, the Merrimack Agricultural Commission is making it easier for us to experiment with local eating. The Commission operates a Farmers Market from June thru September where you can find locally-produced eggs, maple products, baked goods, produce, meat, fish, dairy, and wine. The Commission also sponsors the Merrimack Community Garden at Wasserman Park, where you can rent a 10' x 10' plot for the season. For dates and details, visit the Commission's entry in our Community Contacts Directory.

For more about Barbara Kingsolver's book, visit And the library has many gardening books to help you get started with your own locavore adventure.

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