01/30/08 — The plight of the Localvore in DC

I just read an article in today’s Washington Post food section about how people are basically becoming their own food inspectors, not just reading labels but researching online etc. where food comes from. I can relate to this, as I get frustrated when I see evidence (like @Whole Foods) that healthy food seems to be a privilege (for those who can afford it), not a basic right.

One thing that the article really doesn’t address (but should have) is the example of the woman @the beginning of the story who regularly visits no less than seven stores every week. Where I live, this is pretty normal. This is a regular source of traffic and stress, I think. Going to multiple food stores regularly is a huge time sucker, not to mention the extra gas you need for all of those errands. Nevertheless, we all have to eat.

In Northern VA we have the fortune of plenty of grocery store choices but it’s incredibly difficult to get decent produce @any of them. I’ve gotten rotten avocados @Whole Foods, for example. Tomatos here don’t taste like anything, unless you grow them yourself, and you’re not going to grow many if all you have is a deck. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten truly fresh salad greens @Wegman’s. And there are only two of us @my house, so Costco bulk buying isn’t an option.

I’ve also read and listened to public radio’s Localvore Nation experiment. They’re tracking 15 people throughout the year and the challenge is to eat 80% locally grown/raised food. As an Easterner who grew up in California, it’s no surprise to me that the West Coasters are having a less challenging time of it than the East Coasters. Interesting, but it just doesn’t seem that fair.