Food is a ubiquitous past time. Thousands of blogs, cookbooks, and websites provide something for everyone: comfort food, vegan, raw, paleo, fermented, ethnic, local, seasonal, healthy, indulgent. I could go on… Recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs and personal anecdotes that target our senses and our sensibilities. But, regardless of the kind of food you like, you undoubtedly like, or at least need, to eat. But how often do you really think about what you are eating and how your choices impact the world and the environment?
As a food blogger I try to present recipes and content that reflect my beliefs and convictions. But, I sometimes loose sight of the bigger picture and cave when faced with the prospect of juicy pineapple and sweet oranges. The sun is shining and just for a moment I forget where I am and convince myself that buying some fruit from South America, Mexico, or California is ok. Just this once…
The news recently has been saturated with stories about California’s drought and the impact it will have on the food economy. California grows half of the country’s fruits, vegetables and nuts. Products unsuitable for farming in a dessert climate became widespread due to new irrigation technology. Now, 80% of the water used in California goes to agriculture and our global food economy is dependent on produce, meat and dairy from the state. With drought conditions worsening, most farmers are changing how they grow things instead of what they grow. In a recent interview with the UC Food Observer, Michael Pollan said that “We need to take a good hard look at where water is being used, how it’s being used and on what crops.” It makes less sense to allocate resources to products that require large amounts of water or are exported abroad. Now, I’m not an economist and I’m sure I’m oversimplifying things, but it seems that if we can reduce the burden of production on California we can help reduce the impact of the drought on the environment. Eating locally and seasonally makes more sense than ever.
I know it can be daunting and overwhelming to try and source ingredients 100% locally and seasonally. We often buy what’s on sale, what’s “healthy” or give in to habits or cravings. Few of us grow up with an understanding of what is truly in season where we live. Spring becomes synonymous with fresh fruits and vegetables even though many fruits and vegetables aren’t in season until the summer months and some don’t grow at all in certain climates. All this to say, I know that it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to change their buying and eating practices overnight or to eat local and seasonal all the time, but next time you reach for the pineapple or orange in the grocery store in April (unless of course you live in the tropics), pause for a moment to think about the implications of your choice. And if you forget to pause and you buy that sweet juicy fruit, make this shake that just screams sunshine. But, as you drink it…think.
1/2 seedless orange, skin and pith removed
1/4 cup pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 dates, pitted
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1-2 ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.