The views expressed herein are mine and not those of the Peace Corps.



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Reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Diet for a Small Planet, I have the strange sensation, probably very unusual for people reading such books, that I am already living by the principles espoused.

The food I eat here is, almost without exception, extremely local (I could walk to the garden where it was farmed) and organic. I buy it straight from the farmer, or from a person who bought it from the farmer in the near past. If I eat meat (a rare occurrence, since I don’t like cooking it) it’s entirely possible that I’ve seen the cow, goat, or chicken it came from wandering around happily, nibbling on grass.

Mostly, I eat legumes (various kinds of beans, chickpeas, lentils) and rice or chapati, and a lot of fresh produce. I buy peas and shell them myself; today I bought some wheat that I’m going to take to a mill to grind into whole wheat flour.

Often I think about what will be difficult to adjust to when I return home after two years: I think that supermarkets will be one of the strangest things I have to come to terms with. Especially viewed in light of Pollan’s descriptions in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, it’s such an unnatural thing, to bring food from thousands of miles away, to keep it all in the same place, independent of the place it’s from or the person who grew it, until a stranger takes it home. Even though I sometimes long for the ease and impersonality of a supermarket, to me it makes more sense to buy food from the farmer, to see her face and say hello and have her pick out the best peaches for you.


Comment from Chris
Time February 12, 2009 at 7:49 am

I wonder – how much of this is due to relationships and how much of it is because of the time cooking takes? I find that shopping at a farmer’s market captures some of what you’re talking about for me, and even though the lady at the fruit booth might not be the person whose family has nurtured the peaches from tree seed to market, it
s still neat to talk to her and get the best ones hand picked etc. On the other hand, I cannot imagine shelling peas myself.

Comment from kit
Time February 12, 2009 at 9:14 am

I’ve been rather pining for that mode of food acquisition lately, myself. Looking forward to the resumption of the farmers’ market here.

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