Be a Locavore and Eat Your Greens!
In 2007 my life changed when I read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. I realized, after reading the book, that most of our environmental issues were caused by our huge, bloated and totally inefficient industrial food system. Did you know it takes an average of 10 fossil-fuel calories to produce one calorie of food energy on an industrial farm? About a quarter of America's greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to how we grow, process and transport food. On average, our food travels 1,500 miles before it reaches our plate.
After learning these things, and realizing I could have an immediate and direct impact on my personal health and the health of the planet, I made a personal commitment to eat locally. At the time I was living in Reno, Nevada, elevation 4500 ft, where we get an average of 8 inches of rain a year. No easy task.
Not long after I made this decision one of my favorite American Public Media radio programs, The Splendid Table, put out a call for volunteers for their Locavore Nation program. They wanted to follow people from all over the US as they tried to eat 80% of their food from within 500 miles of their home city. I applied.
The Splendid Table received 15,000 applications! They were totally overwhelmed. From those 15,000 they invited 150 people to write an essay as to why they should be selected for the Locavore Nation challenge. From those 150 applicants, 15 were selected and I was among them.
The Locavore Nation start January 1! Seriously, in the middle of winter, we started a local eating challenge. The best I could do was to make my own bread (ironically using Wheat Montana flour), yogurt from a friend who had a 4H dairy cow, goat cheese from the same friend with 4H goats, beer that James brewed and pickles I have made the previous summer. It was a pretty dismal start.
By the time the challenge ended, 365 days later, I was sourcing about 80% of my food from with 100 miles of Reno, much of it homegrown. My passion for growing my own and buying from local producers has not diminished. I am super excited to finally have a venue where I can, once again, encourage and support people who want to make growing, cooking, and eating a deliberate act of independence and self-sufficiency.
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