Eating local changes the world

Terra Madre is a book, an every-other-year conference, and a philosophy. A few years ago Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini decided to bring food producers around the world together in one place. Farmers who had never ventured beyond their villages gathered in Italy to talk to each other, and to cook and eat together. This is basic to Petrini’s approach, respecting the knowledge and the work of the people who live close to the land growing the food that we all eat to sustain our lives. In the book form of Terra Madre, Petrini captures the connection between ourselves, our communities, and the biosphere which sustains us. His writing is at once elegant and filled with common sense. He speaks simply of the real world and our proper behavior in it. Today eating generates uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. By barring nature from the human sphere, we have ultimately excluded food … Continue reading

Food security

On vacation this summer I picked up the 2010/11 Natural Choice Directory for Willamette Valley and read the article “Rebuilding the Local Food System: The Future of Agriculture in the Willamette Valley Through the lens of Food Security”. Author Dan Armstrong sits on the Lane County Food Policy Council and writes clearly and calmly about a potentially frightening subject – what happens if there is a disaster? His insights are applicable not just to Willamette but to Kitsap as well. Being food secure means that every person in a given community has access to healthy food at all times. Building food security requires farmers to grow food, artisans to create bread and cheese and other foods from the raw foods, and a distribution system to get the food to people in the region. Food security enables a community to withstand crises. Potential crises include natural disasters – in our area … Continue reading

Locally Delicious

On vacation in August I stopped in Arcata, Humboldt County, California, where I happened to pick up a recipe book, Locally Delicious, Recipes and Resources for Eating on the North Coast. The six women who compiled the book dubbed themselves the Heirloom Tomatoes. The book starts with a series of essays discussing approaches to local food. Why eat local? What is organic? How to save money? Local in this case means the bioregion known as the Six Rivers Region, including Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties. Recipes used nearly entirely foods grown in that region – one notable exception is olive oil, which is grown in nearby Mendocino County. Reading the recipes taught me what a fully developed local cuisine looks like, and pointed out to me the ingredients in my own food that don’t come from my food shed: olives, olive oil, lemons, rice. The book includes information on … Continue reading

Northwest cuisine

A cuisine is a way of preparing food that is shared by people of a particular region, or religious or ethnic heritage. Kitsap County is located in Washington State in the Pacific Northwest, so we can take as a starting point that Kitsap cuisine is a form of Northwest cuisine. There’s a debate about whether Northwest cuisine actually exists. Take salmon – you can give that fish to five local chefs and get five radically different treatments, from Asian to Mediterranean to Native. Aside from the Native alder-planked method, we don’t have a salmon dish that everyone points to and says, that’s Northwest cuisine, in the same way you can talk about, say, Boston chowder, or Philly cheesesteak. In her blog Talk of Tomatoes Janelle argues that Northwest cuisine is built on the local ingredients she grew up eating. Her family hunted venison and caught crabs in traps. She grew … Continue reading