I've been really gearing up for the Farmer's Market season. One of the things I was really excited for moving to Colorado is that people here seem to be a little more environmentally conscious (vs. the oil-driven-everything's-bigger-in-Texas mentality). Not that there's anything wrong with Texans, heavens no -- I really enjoyed the years that I lived there. But I love the idea of a place that it's easy to ride your bike along the street (Fort Collins has a bike lane on pretty much every street in town) and find locally grown produce.
It's not uncommon to meet folks around here who have a few alpaca, or maybe even goats. My favorite yarn shop in town, My Sister Knits, has a chicken coop in the back yard with five or six egg-laying chickens.
I mentioned before that I've become more interested in eating healthy, and I've had a growing interest in buying locally. May starts the Farmer's Market season, and I cannot wait to see what's in store for us this summer. There are several around Fort Collins, and one actually started last week but only had about six stalls and not very much produce. It's still very early for anything grown in the ground, and I've been using the time to read up on what else I can do throughout the year.
I've been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (her name might seem familiar from her massively popular and very good Poisonwood Bible). It's a really well-written book about Barbara and her family living locally for one full year. If they can't grow it themselves or get it from a neighbor, they go without. They share recipes, tricks, secrets, history and details about the food industry that I had heard about, but never read in print before. (I imagine a lot of the same details are reported in movies like Food, Inc. and the like, but I have refrained from watching those movies for personal reasons.) She makes it seem manageable to do such a task, at least on a small scale. I do not have the land space to make a garden the size of hers, and I cannot keep my own chickens at the moment, but I can shop at more Farmer's Markets (now that they're open) and buy organic when I can. It is more expensive, yes, and even certified organics can be tricky. But I like the idea of having fresh food and supporting local businesses, and around here it doesn't seem so hard to do that more often. It's no longer a secret how the food industry treats animals that are being raised for mass meat production, or the chemicals they spray to kill bugs, or antibiotics they add to food that didn't need it 15 years ago. It will take some time and effort to convince major food corporations that we don't want that shit in our food or our bodies. I'm not going to spend a bunch of time preaching about this, but (as with most things) all it takes is a wee bit of effort from everyone -- or even a few more people every year -- and maybe we can make some big changes for the better.