But is it local?
But is it local?
I have an idea. How about if we don't make local a contest? How about if we all do what we can – what fits in our budget, our philosophy, our abilities? And how about we don't judge others when they fall short of the glory of all local, all the time?
I've been stewing over this for a little while, since an acquaintance commented on one of my Facebook posts. I was visiting a producer who makes a Kentucky product. He makes it with the key ingredient from out of state, using a process he learned from his father and grandfather, through a traditional (read: old-fashioned) means. This commenter pointed out that the final product wouldn't be as good as one using the heritage ingredient he himself uses. Well, no, it won't be. But that doesn't always have to be the point, does it?
Obviously local is better. And it feels like we're genuinely moving in a direction where that is just what's expected. That's a good direction. What's not a good direction is criticizing people who aren't as far along on the spectrum as you are. In fact, that's a good way to send people post-haste back to the industrial products at the big box store, because hey, if kinda sorta local isn't good enough, why bother?
Yes, it would be nice – really, really nice – if everyone making food in Kentucky started with all local ingredients. But I'm not going to disrespect a producer who's doing what he knows and loves. He's been practicing his craft for decades, since long before people went around brandishing words like artisan and heirloom. Would it be good to nudge folks like that in the more local direction? Of course it would. But snide comments on social media don't accomplish that – or anything.
I do what I can as a consumer – I buy as often as I can from the farmer's market or my local produce shops. I share a community garden with a neighbor (though, full disclosure: he does all the work and generously lets my husband and me share in the bounty in exchange for sharing the cost and occasionally watering). As much as possible I feature in my writing people who support other local growers and producers. But the change we all want doesn't happen overnight. And it doesn't happen by pushing people away.
Let's remember that we're in this together, and let's play nice. After all, don't you catch more flies with locally harvested, heritage honey?