In Vermont, where I grew up and often visit, and in the Boston area, San Francisco and Berkeley, the eastern shore of Maryland, Alabama, Rome, Italy, and Minneapolis—where the itinerant lifestyle of an academic has led me—I’ve nourished my appreciation for seasonal, local food. As a teacher, writer, mother, cook, occasional gardener, and, of course, eater, I try to emphasize the value of deliciousness, freshness, variety, and fun as well as sustainability. These are the ideas I’d like to share in this blog, along with some simple and tasty recipes and favorite local eateries.
When I began this blog, my son, Jack, appreciated these aspects of food already. He loved trucks, and played with particular intensity when his toy tractors were seeding and harvesting the rug or lawn. But his smile really shines when we play outside in the dirt—planting herbs and tomatoes, watering the cucumbers, looking under strawberry leaves for the biggest, juiciest berry. One of the reasons I look for local, organic food is that it’s fun, and often involves meeting new people and being outdoors. Why else would Jack have seen a young farmer hypnotize a chicken at a birthday party?
It’s also healthier for my whole family, which now includes a much littler one: Elizabeth Rose, better known as Lizzie. That pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide residues stay in our bodies and show up in blood and breast milk is well-documented. That local organic apples, carrots, cheese, and beef taste better can be documented by any eater.
Local, organic, and sustainable all have different implications for food production and distribution: local food may not be organic; organic food often isn’t local (or produced on a small scale); sustainably produced local food is what to aim for, but when it’s not available or is just plain too expensive, we can make trade-offs and at least try to eat locally or organically. There are many good reasons for seeking out local, sustainably produced food when possible. Here are a few:
1. The food is fresher, and therefore tastes better.
2. Fresh, organic food is healthier.
3. Less fossil fuel consumption.
4. Support small businesses.
5. Food safety.
6. Contribute to the economic health of the region.
7. Fewer hidden costs.
8. You get to meet the passionate people!
That’s why I strive to be a locavore. Why roving? We’ve always traveled and moved a lot. Shortly before I started this blog, Peter, Jack and I moved from rural Maryland to Alabama. A year later, we flew to Rome to spend the year living at the American Academy and making short trips all around on the high speed trains, taking in the landscape and the art, history, and food that grows from it. In Rome, I enjoyed both shopping at the open air markets and cooking with the amazingly fresh Italian ingredients, as well as enjoying the delicious meals and gardens of the Rome Sustainable Food Project, located at the Academy. Jack had his own culinary adventures at Scuola Arcobaleno (Rainbow School) where they served big bowls of delicious pasta or risotto every day for lunch, and where the children tended a playground vegetable garden.
While in Rome, I did some volunteer work as a writer for Bioversity International–in particular, their campaign Diversity for Life, which fosters education about agricultural biodiversity and the value of traditional foodways. The world’s diet is becoming more homogeneous and less nutritious, as old knowledge and traditional crops are lost. Bioversity is doing everything they can to push back against this enormous tide. It was exciting to be involved.
In my non-blogging life, I offer editorial and copywriting services, which you can read about here: english-thyme.com
I also have a Master’s in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English. My doctoral dissertation, Scandalous Figures, explores the self-fashioning and self-fictionalizing of four eighteenth-century and Romantic authors, including that most scandalous of Lords, Byron.
Thanks for reading! I welcome your comments.
A word about products and recipes: If I endorse a particular product, I do so because I think it is good. I receive no payments of any kind. If a recipe is from a particular source, I will attribute it.
All content on this site, © Amy Campion, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.