|living local: dry farming along I-5 (central California)|
There's a huge push going on in my part of the world (and maybe it's everywhere; I don't know) to grow local, buy local, live local. It's a fine idea and I like it a lot -- though in my opinion there is no way we will ever totally be local again. (Until the caldera blows, that is. Then it's back to the ice age.) Living local is a pre-industrial revolution way of living. Something my great-grandmother did on her farm in western Idaho while my other great-grandmother was doing it on her ranch in northern Wyoming. My ancestral women were as close to self-sustaining as they could be, and it took every waking moment of their lives, 24/7: growing and canning food, raising animals, trading with their neighbors for what they didn't have, the constant birthing of children. The time you were most likely to starve? August. (The crops weren't ripe yet and your stores were depleted.)
But if you've ever raised a little home garden you already know the truth of 'local' in our time: your garden cannot sustain you for more than about seven days of the 365 you live in a year. The reality of this doesn't stop me from growing my own tomatoes and basil and thyme. Nor does it stop me from attending the local farmer's markets in August and September. But year-round? I'm grateful for the grocery.