330 South Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231
p 410 244 7221 f 410 244 7225
In case you read the May Local Challenge piece, please see below if you are curious how the experiment panned out:
Week One: Lesson learned—Hunger $90 and a few dinners later is all we walked away with the first week from our local farmers' market. We definitely learned that you have to plan ahead, look around and do your research before buying a week's worth of groceries from the market. Seasonal items count and they count in a big way when planning lunch and dinner choices. I definitely supplemented most of that week's lunches at local eateries.
Week Two: Lesson learned—Patience My carbon footprint was up in regards to gasoline. I had to leave work a little early to make 3 different trips to local stores in order to purchase Mother's Day cards, toiletries and dinner. Before it would have been one convenient stop to Safeway and flexible hours of operation. Traveling proved the same. I made a pit stop to a gas station. It was quite eye opening when I saw two women buying snacks and drinks, and I realized I could not buy anything in the store. The farmers' market proved to be a bit better. This time I actually scored breakfast food for the week. Patience is also needed in regards to looking more carefully for what you need, talking to the farmers and waiting in line for every purchase—then lugging it all around. No more buggy or quick grab-and-go mentality—slow food in every sense of the word.
Week Three: Lesson learned—Rhythm I had figured out my favorite stops in the market, and how to supplement items not at the market. I was feeling great and waking up before my alarm, most days 1-2 hours early. I guess the whole food mentality was starting to take hold.
Week Four: Lesson learned—Sustainability With all of the success of week three, I was starting to slip a bit. It is difficult to maintain a 100% local diet and purchasing habits. Until local items are in higher demand (which I believe is starting to manifest) it is quite impossible to live the current lifestyle most of us are used to living. A state of constant convenience and continuous demand, without a conscience of source, is not a sustainable mentality. We must start changing the smallest of habits on a personal level if we expect the world to play a progressive role in working towards a sustainable existence.
Week Five: Lesson learned—Laziness McDonald's. Yes my friends, the lure of fast food during travel is omnipresent. Is laziness inevitable if convenience is not present? It was in my case. I had officially fallen off the wagon. I had given it a go for nearly a month, with only a few small slips. Seeing the end in sight, and feeling that I had lead an 80% success rate of local purchasing for the month of May, I quickly fell back into the mainstream of the "American Way".
June: After my month of experimentation, I cannot foresee myself returning to the way I used to purchase food. As easy as it was to fall off the wagon, it was just as easy to hop back on. June proved to be a great balance of continuing to buy local products mixed with the lower carbon footprint of purchasing based on convenience. It is now a habit to look and see where products are sourced. If I see produce with a closer location sticker than the ones adjacent, I will for sure choose the closest one. I will continue to purchase from local farmers and individual retailers. I am even thinking for this holiday season, of perhaps purchasing from only local artisans.
I hope that this experiment will encourage others to purchase local products and support their neighborhood business owners whenever possible. I enjoyed the challenge.