Greg Dennis

A chronicle of life in Vermont and the issues and foibles of its people.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Be a Local Hero -- Eat Local

The title of this section is inspired by a bumper sticker on the car of my friends Winslow ( and Joanna Colwell ( He's a talented graphic artist. She's the latest in a string of several outstanding yoga teachers from whom I've been lucky enough to take classes.

Once a vegetarian, Joanna has taken the position that, given what is happening to Vermont (being carved up into 10-acre estatelettes as 200 years of agriculture goes down the drain) the responsible environmental and land-use thing is to eat locally. The more we can consume of what's raised and grown here, the more likely we are to keep the beautiful openness that surrounds us, rather than see it turned into Connecticut.

This section is a resource for how to Eat Locally and Digest Globally -- whether it's locally raised lamb and goat cheese, Chris Granstrom's mid-Vermont wine ( ), Bill McKibben's excellent new book, Wandering Home, on walking from Ripton, Vt. to the Adirondack Mountains (, or just the local farmers market.

Here's author and blogger James Howard Kunstler, who lives in upstate eastern New York not far from Vermont, on how even the New Urbanists don't understand the pressing need to grow and eat local, especially as the oil runs out:

"I gave a talk at the closing session of the annual Congress for the New Urbanism in Pasadena on Sunday. My message was one that readers of this blog are familiar with -- namely, that we are sleepwalking into desperate circumstances largely determined by our addiction to oil, our supply of which mostly comes from distant lands full of people who hate us, et cetera. I will not bore you by rehearsing this theme further today. Now, the CNU members have generally been among the most forward-looking citizen-activists on the scene for a decade. They certainly recognize the many deficiencies of our drive-in dystopia, apart from the oil issues, and have been working to remedy it. But they don't really believe what I said to them.

"The sad truth is that they are addicted to the same economic mechanisms as the sprawl-meisters: the production home-builders (so-called), the great mortgage mills of the conglomerate banks, and the real estate "industry" (also so-called.) So they don't want to hear that these "sectors" of our economy are not going to make it. They don't want to hear about the necessity to downscale America anymore than the grifters who develop the WalMart power centers want to hear about it.

"But we are going where circumstances are taking us whether we like it or not. We have to make other arrangements -- and I mean really different from the way we live now, not just tweaking the municipal codes and building slightly better housing subdivisions and squeezing chain stores under the condominiums and hiding the parking lots behind the buildings. I hope the New Urbanists come around. They have a whole lot of very useful knowledge that will allow us to make our derelict towns habitable while we re-assign the remaining countryside for growing the food that we need locally." [more at]


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