Thoughts Against Eating Local & Apple Muffins (yum!)

I get anxious in grocery stores.

Don’t get me wrong. I love food. Cooking it. Eating it.

But take this conundrum:

You want a head of lettuce.

The store sells three options.

1) Organic, in plastic packaging

2) Locally grown, conventional (bajillions of pesticides)

3) Conventional, half the price

Talk about a headache!

So which do you choose?

Specifically I’d like to talk about one aspect. Eating local.

The local movement has made huge ground of late, particularly here on the West coast of Canada (where most of our food comes from California).

But what’s the point?

CO2 emissions from transport?

What about the fact that ocean freighters are relatively efficient per pound of food transported? In England, since energy is largely derived from coal, it’s actually better (emissions wise) to buy produce from New Zealand in the off-season than locally grown produce that has been stored.

Here in BC, peppers and tomatoes are grown in green houses powered by natural gas because it’s cheaper than the grid (made up of 93% renewable energy such as hydroelectricity)

So if it’s not necessarily better for the environment, why eat local?

Why wait till Saturday to shop at the farmer’s market, to pay triple for lettuce?

I’ve heard the argument about supporting your local farmer. Feeding the local economy etc. etc.

But does that mean we should shun the fruit and quinoa from developing countries? Do our neighbours deserve our dolla bills more? There is certainly something to be said for knowing your farmer. Knowing whether or not they use pesticides. Understanding where your food comes from and all that crap.

What about food security? If our supply chains get cut off, how will we feed ourselves. This is a valid question, though very hypothetical. Canada is not on the verge of war and fuel for transport ain’t running out in my lifetime or the next or the next. Maybe we’ll eventually have to compete with more people on the planet and the prices will be driven higher. (But hey, would that just make local food economically competitive?)

How about freshness? In order for veg to not be spoiled by the time it reaches it’s destination it must be plucked waaaay before it’s ripe. This is where we find complaints of food not tasting good anymore. But am I going to taste the difference with my hypothetical head of lettuce?

Animal welfare. This one grinds my gears. There seems to be a common misconception that ‘local’ is synonymous with ‘good welfare.’


Battery cages exist in your community. I promise. That local pork didn’t see the local grass. Unless explicitly stated so.

So I suppose I aim to point out that as much as eating local can ease the conscience a snag, in many respects the “100 mile diet” and “locavore” movements are perhaps more trendy greenwash than all-encompassing solution.

I certainly don’t know what the solution IS. And I think about this full time.

Surely the answer is pluralistic. It depends on context.

In any case. This season I’m going to chase my local organic lentil loaf with some sickly sweet holiday dessert made from fair trade (also a buzzword), organic (presumably certified) sugar, shipped (hopefully by freighter) from Paraguay (developing country).

Here’s a badass muffin recipe I made up the other day. Involves apples (yay local!) and banana (yay…..!?)

Apple Muffins

Makes about 10.

2 C spelt flour

1/2 C cane sugar (or xylitol)

2tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt


1 banana – microwaved for 1 minute

4 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 C almond milk (or soy or whatever)

8 drops stevia (optional)


4 small/medium apples – grated

Whisk together dry.

Microwave banana and add wet, making sure coconut oil is melted.

Add wet to dry. Do not over mix.

Stir in grated apples.

Bake at 350F.

19 pairs of tights.

For a change of pace.

I’m not going to rant about animal welfare.

Instead on this fine December eve, beer in hand, I’d like to talk about something very prevalent in my thoughts this semester.


Because I have a confession.

I have a lot of stuff.

I mean. You’re not going to see me on that intervention show where they find dead cats in the refrigerator.

But I’ll be the first to admit I have a lot of clothes I never wear.

It’s not that I shop a lot. At least not anymore. They just kind of…. add up over the years.

Over the summer I began the laborious process of purging. I got rid of a garbage bag (the big kind) of clothes and another one of shoes. Off to charity to find new homes.

Last night I got rid of another pile. Admittedly it took me three hours to go through everything, piece by piece, and rationalize why I needed to keep it, but I am quite proud of the results. 19 pairs of tights were just a start (when was the last time I wore tights? Highschool?)

I’m not here to preach of about consumerism in relation to the present holiday season. Although that may seem fitting. On the contrary, I’m in a state of contemplation of the emotional weight we put on things.

At what point does something become sentimental? Because you wore it to a special event? Because it was your mother’s? Grandmothers? What if you have a closet of their clothes?

Getting rid of things for me is difficult for two reasons: the classic hoarder question of “but what if I need this later?” and the sense of nostalgia. The memories triggered by that item.

In response to the first question “but what if I need this later?” It’s almost a reverse consumerism ideology if you think about it. Why would I get rid of it only to have to buy something new later? The question is. Are you really going to need 13 pairs of jeans?

In regards to the second. Is this item really our last connection to that memory? Of course not. We’ve just deposited it there. And next thing you know we have closet-fulls, nay, house-fulls of knickknacks designed to trigger memories.

I’m not quite sure where this is going. Maybe it’s the beer. But I for one am not comfortable with my memories and happiness finding refuge in the things I own. If I no longer have use for a dress I wore to a dance once… or even say… my graduation… should it not find a new home? Somebody put a lot of work into growing that cotton and manufacturing that thread and painstakingly sewing on all those sequins.

All this of course is very hypocritical. I’m still holding onto an ENTIRE CLOSET FULL of costumes from my musical theatre days. But hey. I’ll cross that bridge when I’m ready.

I suppose all this is to say that I’m approaching this holiday season mindfully. Trying to sort through needs versus desires and resisting the urge to buy too much crap for my loved ones.

I’m not going to get all snuggly and sentimental and tell you to give out hugs and coupons for quality time.

Nobody wants that.

Please don’t give that.