Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gourmand's manifesto

Montreal is a city in the midst of rich and diverse agricultural land. Why, then, must I content myself with processed, imported grocery store food?

In this era of packaged, sanitized edible products, urban Western society has completely lost touch with what we put in our mouths. Most people (myself included) have never seen a feedlot, or understood the pollutants and toxins that cover the food on grocery store shelves, both inside and out (I'm talking about pesticides, antibiotics, genetic modifications, and many others). I'm not an expert on food by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask exactly what I'm putting in my body, and I'm willing to take the time and make the effort to find out. This journal aims to share my exploration of local ingredients: how and where to buy them and how to prepare and enjoy them at home.

My list of principles is incomplete and always open to revision. As I said, I'm no expert, so I'm hoping to learn as I go and expand these principles accordingly. Also, there are no hard and fast rules. Life is too short to see things in black and white.

1) Eat local: it supports the local economy and reduces carbon emissions associated with shipping. There are obvious exceptions to this; I'm not willing to give up French wine, Chinese tea, or Indian spices. But any fresh produce that's worth eating can be bought locally.

2) Eat organic/natural: the universe has been working for millions of years perfecting the plants and animals that grace this planet, and continues to do so. If we restrict our activities to the bounds nature has set for us, we will be healthier and so will the Earth. Modifications and poisons, on the inside or on the outside, have no place in our food supply. This is a tough one because it gets very complicated, and organic certification is very difficult to come by, especially for small-scale family farms. I'm less concerned with bureaucratic labels than I am with principles. Some examples: no medication unless the animal is sick; no pesticides; no laboratory genetic modifications.

3) Buy from small, family-run businesses and co-ops: I think that speaks for itself. I do not want to be a slave to purely profit-driven corporations when I can avoid it.

4) Eat seasonal produce: food is better when it's fresh, and in a temperate climate, it makes for a lot of variety.

5) Support sustainable/biodynamic agriculture: I'm hoping to learn what this means in concrete terms. The more we work with nature rather than against it, the better we will live and the longer our planet will survive.

6) Try anything once.

What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment