Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Introduction and Day 1 of Going Local on Campus

The purpose of this assignment is to explore a food movement which has the goal of increasing social and environmental justice. For our project, we decided to explore the local movement by going local for one week. Each of us has different eating habits, Molly is vegetarian, Maya is an omnivore, and I am vegan.  One of the restrictions put on me is that I live on campus and eat on a meal plan. However, I think this restriction will add an interesting dimension to the project. We can compare what our experiences are on and off campus.  This knowledge may be useful for other college-aged students thinking about going local.

In preparation for my first day as a locavore, I went to the Farmers’ market, which is inside Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium. I had the opportunity to speak with Corie Pierce, One of the Bread and Butter Farm’s full time employees and founders. I asked her about growing kale in the winter. She said that she was one of the few local farmers to grow Kale all winter. Corie uses a greenhouse to protect the plants from the wind and snow, but actually use no electricity for heating. According to Peirce, Kale can grow in temperatures as low as 15ͦF. The ground is naturally warm in the greenhouse and rarely freezes over.
I was impressed by the limited amount of energy used by Corie’s greenhouse and by the fact that Kale could grow in such cold temperatures.  I had been worried that all that I would have to eat only  root vegetables such as potatoes and squash, but Corie’s kale was putting that worry at ease. I also got to speak with a woman who made Red Maple Granola in Hardwick, Vermont.  I told her about my project and she seemed to think that I could most definitely live on Local foods while being a student at the University of Vermont. I was reassured by the farmers in my decision to go local for a week. I had the vegetables, now I just had to start cooking.
                  My first local meal of my first day as a locavore was Red Maple granola with Vermont Soy milk and an empire apple from Shelburne Farms. I realized that the granola was not entirely organic because it contained dried coconut and I’m fairly certain that coconuts do not grow in Vermont. But, I figured it was alright since the majority of the ingredients were mostly made in Vermont and it had been assembled in Vermont. That seemed alright as my first meal and it was fairly similar to the oatmeal and apple that I usually have as a non-locavore.
My next meal took place at Cook dining hall, which nicely and surprisingly has a local fruit stand right next to the entrance way. There was also some pleasant looking and tasting slices of locally made breads located on a table next to the fruit stand. On the wall behind the bread, there is a map of Vermont which shows were produce and food products were grown and made. I also found a locally mad mustard and blueberry jam that I could put on the bread at the vegan station. Lastly I helped myself to some cooked squash at the vegan station that was grown locally.
The hardest part during the day was finding snacks that filled me up until dinner. Locally grown apples are readily available within all of the eating facilities on the UVM campus, but they are low in calories. In order to fill myself up, I invested in a jar of Vermont peanut butter. Vermont peanut butter comes from locally grown peanuts in Morrisville, Vermont. The only ingredients are peanuts and salt. The company itself was created in Vermont by the Kaiser family, who wanted to offer an alternative to hydrogenated oil filled peanut butter.

And finally for dinner I made a purple hash with purple potatoes, garlic, and red onions that I had gotten from the Bread and Butter Farm at the farmer’s market.  I also had a side of raw kale, which was also from the Bread and Butter Farm. The dinner was good, although I did use salt which was not collected locally.
The hardest part was definitely the availability of filling local foods on campus. There are lots of local fruits, but there are so many apples that one person can eat.  I should have gotten more simple foods to make such as yellow potatoes or sweet potatoes so that I could have an easy baked potato. I am hoping to make a trip to healthy living to find some more local foods for the rest of the project. Thus far I think the most rewarding part of a locavore diet is going to be getting to know the farmers and learning about how foods are grown.

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