Monday, October 1, 2012

Eating Local for Canadian Thanksgiving

With Canadian Thanksgiving just a week away, the Climate Crusader is planning a local feast.

I'm Canadian, which means that for me Thanksgiving is just a week away. And as I prepare for this annual feast to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for all I have, one of the things that I like to focus on is eating local. While I'm not a hard-core locavore, I do take steps to reduce my food miles. There are a number of reasons that I try to eat local.
CSA share all laid out
One of my weekly CSA share deliveries

Why I Eat Local

  • Food that travels thousands of miles from the field to my plate has a higher carbon footprint, thanks to all the time it spends on the road.
  • The closer to home that my food was grown, the fresher it is when I eat it, generally speaking. Because traveling takes time.
  • By eating local, I'm supporting local farmers, which means that I'm helping to ensure regional food security.
  • When I source local food, by learning how to garden, visiting farmers' markets, and participating in a CSA, I'm connecting with my local community, which just feels good.

Cranberries!
Cranberries!

What Will be on my Thanksgiving Table

Hopefully I've made a good case for eating local, but that doesn't answer the big question - where do you get this food? When I first started out, it felt a little bit overwhelming. Here's what's on my Thanksgiving table this year, and where I got it from:
  • A local turkey, ordered from my organic grocery store
  • Cranberry sauce, made with cranberries and honey from my farmers' market
  • Cheese from my farmers' market
  • Potatoes, carrots and beets from my CSA
  • Seasonings like onions, herbs and garlic from my garden
  • Pumpkin pie, made with a pumpkin from my CSA
  • Local wine, from the liquor store (we can't buy wine at the grocery store in British Columbia) 

Posing with our Thanksgiving pumpkin
My daughter with our Thanksgiving pumpkin from a few years ago

Start Small

Changing your eating habits can feel overwhelming, so I suggest starting small. I think Thanksgiving dinner is a great time to do it, because it's just one meal. Maybe trying to create a completely local meal is too much - but you can always commit to even one or two dishes. Stop by your local farmers' market, if you have one. Check out a farm-gate store. Read labels at your grocery store, to see where the produce comes from. Or think ahead to next Thanksgiving and plant a garden. I like to believe that even small changes, over time, can make a big difference. So try eating a few local food items, and see where it takes you!

What's your favourite local food item - and where do you get it from?

5 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

wow that is awesome! i find that the one thing about our Thanksgiving, is that it is at a better time for eating locally due to the Harvest. :)

Andrew and I will be going to my parents for Thanksgiving, so no control over what we eat- but I'm looking forward to spending time with family!

Helena said...

Our favorite local food item is the winter/spring strawberries (we're in FL, so strawberry season is early for us--elsewhere they seem to be a summer thing?). We get them from a local organic/hydroponic farmer, and they are amazing. We just ran out of the dried strawberries I'd dehydrated, and are now counting down 'til his first harvest--hopefully November or December, since he can usually get an earlier harvest than the local "dirt farmers."

Lisa Sharp said...

I wish Thanksgiving in the US was the same as Canada so we could start focusing on Christmas quicker haha.

I make the whole meal for my family and in-laws and try to find local food when possible. :)

Elizabeth said...

We're not 100% localers but Thanksgiving is an easy one to do. Pumpkin for my pie is from garden, onions from a friends garden, green beans for the green bean casserole from my garden via freezer, pickles are mine. The potatoes, the cherry wine and the cranberries are all local products. Most cranberries come from here to begin with and the wine is from winery an hour a way from local cherries. Thanksgiving is one of the few times a year I actually cook/serve meat. The turkey is ordered and will be picked up at the Farmer's market.

My favorite local food is cheese and we have the best cheeses to choose from. I know that at the moment my refrigerator has a chunk of Swiss (my favorite), feta, Co-Jack, mozzarella, provolone, romano, parmesan, pepper-jack, cheddar and some slices of Muenster. All made at local dairys , the closest is 20 minutes away. But the grocery store stocks them all so we don't even have to drive out to get them.

robbie @ going green mama said...

I love this! I would love to eat more locally, and I'm encouraged that families even farther north than us can make it happen!

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