I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a conscious consumer in a fast fashion, fast paced, fast everything society. While it can be easy to identify a single area we are passionate about, it can be more challenging to put all of our habits and patterns under the microscope of examination. Honestly, it can be downright uncomfortable. We live in a "you be you" society of individualism and seem to think if we keep pretending everything isn't interconnected then maybe just maybe the illusion will hold for a bit longer.
Let's be real. Something needs to change, a lot of things need to change. But change can be overwhelming. Where do we start when we live in a city and not everyone has access to a farm? I recently had a client incorporate a living wall into their restaurant which can be a great place to start, this blog features some ideas which are inspiring me to take action. #babysteps
The above Exxon commercial is a prime example of what is possible when the pace of discovery in ecological fields catches up to the innovation which is happening in other areas (better later than never). The only way that corporations will be encouraged to invest in this areas is if there is a consumer demand. This is where eating seasonally and locally comes in. The reality is being a conscious consumer is not easy and more often than not the process can be overwhelming, disappointing and frustrating.
I recently brought a group of friends with me to visit 21 Acres in Woodinville and while I absolutely love the concept, I was saddened by the limited products and uninspired or out of touch merchandising of the farmers/vendors that were represented. Let's be real the options for eating seasonally and locally more often than not leave something to be desired when it comes to selection and pricing. Not everyone who wants to eat healthy and fresh is going to be interested in a garbanzo bean brownie. Tasty options that tap into seasonal and local products need to be provided to engage consumers.
This is where you and I can put our creative skills to work. If we begin using our purchase power to show producers that this is an area we are interested in, then just maybe innovation and competition will increase. I think we can all agree that micro solutions can contribute to large-scale change. We have seen it happen time and time again.
I would love to hear from you if this is an area you are passionate about or interested in learning more about. I am trying to find my tribe - because I can't be the only one out there that is interested in this topic but also doesn't necessarily want to go full on vegan :) I believe there is a place for us who enjoy meat but also want to live more in rhythm with the seasons and closer to the land.
Resources For Further Reading
- Six Seasons By Joshua McFadden: I am currently reviewing this book for NetGalley and feel it is very timely. The author of the book Joshua McFadden actually came from Dan Barber's Blue Hill prior to moving to Portland to become the chef and owner of Ave Genes . I appreciate how the book is broken down by season yet also includes an entire section on brining, in case you like me might be interested in cracking open a jar of sunshine in the winter.
- Seasonal Cornucopia: I am newly obsessed with this tool! I love how you can put in the month and it tells you everything from veggies to cheeses that are in season. The tool is by Cook Local and was created so that chefs, restaurateurs, home cooks and gardeners in the greater Puget Sound Region of the Pacific Northwest can use to easily identify when local foods are in season.
- The Third Plate By Dan Barber: This guy is a tremendous inspiration! I heard him speak several years ago at a Town Hall in Seattle and it pretty much rocked my world. He speaks of not just eating organic but geographically as well, about the value of farmers who move away from monocropping to polyculture in which crops are rotated to put nutrients back into the soil and how consumers can support those efforts.
- True Wealth By Juliet B. Schor: I just recently discovered Juliet B. Schor, I know I know, where have I been? Now that I have found her writing, she seems to synchronistically be popping up everywhere. If you watched the documentary Minimalism on Netflix then her name will be familiar to you.
Photography By: Josiah Michael