I love where I live. I love it so much that I sacrifice 2 ½ hours every weekday of my life traveling on the Metra train from my quaint, butter yellow, 1936 American foursquare in historic downtown Crystal Lake, IL to my modern office with a view in the downtown Chicago Loop and back. My life suffers from a bit of an identity crisis.
City dwellers argue that Crystal Lake is an exurb rather than a suburb, but if the number of minivans, strip malls and soccer moms defines a suburb, I win the debate hands down. My suburb just also happens to include plenty of cornfields and John Deere.
A year ago I stumbled upon the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. It was a life-changing read. If you haven’t read it, flip over to Amazon or your local library’s website this instant and get it. Barbara and her family ate locally for an entire year from their farm in rural Virginia. Inspired by her words and motivated by her recipes and children’s apparent love for all things green, I set out on a mission to make a change in my family’s eating habits. I mean, how hard could it be to get all of my food from within, say, 100 miles of my home in America’s heartland? Boy, was I in for a rude awakening!
Necessity is the mother of invention. Before Barbara took on the challenge of eating locally for a year, she undoubtedly did her homework. Unfortunately, she didn’t publish the detail of it. This blog is a tale of my year of preparation before embarking on a local suburban eating challenge of my own. You will watch this weekend homesteading warrior learn to make cheese, maintain a worm compost farm, and maybe even start a beehive. I’ll share how networking within your community is the key to locating raw milk, eggs, grains, vegetables, fruits and meat. I challenge you take this journey with me and help fill in my gaps and share your experiences and sources along the way.
Make this commitment with me to vote with your wallet. Vote for produce that actually tastes good. Vote for local farmers who are properly caring for the world’s precious soil. Vote against the use of foreign oil. Vote to enrich your community by meeting new neighbors. Vote to bring back the family table with home-cooked food you feel good about serving your family.