Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Locavore Nation, Part 1

I previously wrote about my commitment to buying much of our food from local sources. Now, I have discovered a group of people who have pledged to obtain 80% of their diet locally. My initial reaction is that it can not be done except in very rare circumstances.

First of all, in the reading that I have done so far, there does not seem to be an established standard as to how determine the proportions of what will constitute one’s diet. How would you measure it, volume, weight, or some sort of tally of items?

Then there is the question of what ‘locally produced’ actually means. As an example, there are several bakeries very close to us so we can buy locally baked products. That sounds good, but then I know that the wheat the flour was milled from was grown hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. That would also be true of most grains. How local is that? Strictly speaking, Susan would most likely not be able to make our own granola.

Meat will probably be off the table as well for us omnivores. There are plenty of meat packing houses within 100 to 150 miles. (Unfortunately, one is involved in the huge recall that has been in the news. Another good reason to think about vegetarianism I guess.) But, the ranches and feedlots where the animals are raised are not in these parts. Drug free chickens are processed locally. But, the chickens themselves are raised in the Central Valley, so I might have to rule them out depending on the mileage.

We could rule the following foods in with no problem:

Tomatoes: Susan grows heirloom and other uncommon varieties of tomatoes in her garden. We have practically a year around supply (as I previously wrote) and can easily supplement it from the farmers market if need be.

Herbs: We grow a wide variety of herbs such as mint, parsley, rosemary, basil, and bay right outside our kitchen door.

Greens: Susan grows lettuce and arugula (rocket plant), so in season we will have these. Others are locally grown and can be had at the farmers market. Some of these are really neat including bok choy and yu choy to name two.

Citrus: We have our own orange and lemon trees. They do not, in truth, come close to meeting our needs, but we can buy locally grown fruit from the near by college of agriculture store and elsewhere.

Avocados: These can be had at the ag school store and from other local sources.

Potatoes: One of our favorite stalls at the local farmers market carries a variety of offbeat potatoes. They also have cauliflower.

Strawberries: There will be local strawberry stands for at least a few more years, I hope.

Corn: The same goes for corn.

Fish: Except for the fact that there are enough pollutants in them to make many people sick, fish are also available from within the allowable distance.

There are a few more foods that I could list, apples come to mind, but you can see that while we could have a nice seasonally variable and interest mix of things it might be problematic to make them 80% of our diet. I am just saying.

Monday, February 18, 2008

That's My Granddaughter!

Cleveland feels right at home - LA Daily News: "Becca Verstraete"

It looks like that I am doing a lot of bragging this week.

Becca Verstraete is our granddaughter and we think that it is pretty cool that she got this recognition. She is an outstanding student as well as a terrific athlete.

The link at the top is a story in the Daily News. Below, both of her goals can be seen in this video. She is wearing white jersey #18.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Inspired to Flower

Inspired to Flower: Different Flower Meanings


This just a quick puff piece. KaBloom of Sandy Springs, recently voted as Atlanta's best flower shop, is using my photo of Stock in its blog "Inspired to Flower". This article talks about the meaning behind some of the more popular flowers.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Marmots Unite!

Free Mukmuk: the 'other' Olympic mascot

I am one those people who likes to do a vanity Google search from time to to time. If I were to be perfectly honest I will have to admit that I actually use "Google Alerts"to let me know when "The Marmot" or "Cliff Hutson" is mentioned in cyberspace.

Most of the hits I get on "The Marmot" are for the clothing company or some guy in Korea. Depending on how active I have been, not much lately, my Flickr and PBase work will show. However, tonight, Google came up with this touching little story, in the Vancouver Sun, about a fellow marmot (see the top link).

How can I not take up the banner for Mukmuk? We have to stick together even if I am not Canadian. I also love to eat, think orange is a great color (or colour), and would hibernate if I could get away with it.

So, lets hear it for the Marmot!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ethnicity, Gender, Identity, and Politics

Yesterday my local NPR station managed to tear itself away from its post-Super Bowl coverage long enough to once again beat the drum about the dilemma that has befallen people of color and women in having to decide between Clinton and Obama.

It would seem that the majority of Democrats have already agreed on one thing - they do not want another Southern white male to be president. The media pundits also tell us that people are no longer interested in the issues. I am not sure that is true, per se. I think that most of us really can not see al that much difference between the two. Also, what they say now will not be long remembered by the time one of them is in office. So what this boils down to then is that we the people are going to vote on the basis of the 'character and image' of the candidate.

The character of a person is a hard thing to measure if you do not actually know them and their public behavior has not been too egregious. Now I am cynical so I feel that as politicians they both have to be corrupt in some way, so I call it a draw. That leaves us with image. This would seem to lead us back to the fact one is a black man and the other a white woman and that we have to identify with one or the other.

Obama and I have at least one thing in common, we are both mixed race. He is decidedly African-American. His father after all was from Africa. I, myself, am black. [I have no connection to Africa except at the level of my DNA. Due to the laxness of record keeping for slaves, I can only trace my family back to 1809. But, in the oral and written records that we do have there is no lore, legend, or account about our time in Africa. - But that is another story.] There has been much made of post-race America in the last few months. I doubt that we are there yet. If we were, there would not be so much fuss about the color of his skin and a lot more about the content of his character.

My gender aside, I can also identify with Clinton. I grew up in a family with many strong women. Most of my career I have worked with women as my peers and my bosses. Other countries have also shown us that women can be world leaders. The idea of a woman in authority is not a problem for me. But, is America ready for it?