On the Road, Locavore-Style
Getting out of Dodge isn’t as simple on a 250-Mile Diet as making sure the catsitter has keys and packing my suitcase. The sourdough starter needs to be fed so it will still be active when I get back (I ran out of commercial baking yeast ages ago, so sourdough is the only leavening in my bread). The remainder of the current loaf of bread needs to be turned into bread crumbs (after using some of it for the sandwich I’ll bring on the plane). The pickled cherries I started last week need to be topped up with vinegar and stashed in the fridge. The already-cooked beet greens I didn’t get around to eating need to go in the freezer.
I leave late tonight for California, where I’ll be cooking for my grandmother’s 96th birthday party. Relatives are convening from many miles away. I’ll have local ingredients to play with there that are off-limits to me here: lemons, almonds, rice, avocados.
I’m eager for the trip, but also questioning several things about it. What is the point of reducing my carbon footprint by eating only food produced within 250 miles if I then jump on a gas-guzzling plane to fly 3000 miles? Sure, I paid the carbon offset fee, but what does that actually mean? Does it really cancel out the fuel that will be used to transport me to my grandmother’s birthday party?
Since I would have taken the trip even if I hadn’t been on The 250, I guess you could say that my carbon footprint is still less than it would have been otherwise. But I find that I can’t just hop on a plane as blithely as I once did, unaware of the consequences.
At the Green Edge event I spoke at a week ago, someone asked whether my local diet was also making me look at other aspects of my impact on the environment. The answer is yes.