Ah! The smell of a freshly baked bread, the crackle of a crisp spinach harvested only this morning, the sweetness of a mango that came straight from a farm and ripened on its own…
The sturdiness of a forest that sheds all its leaves, like it is dying, only to come back alive again every monsoon and continuing to do so for millions of years. The resilience of a crop that can withstand the onslaught of heat, pests and any adverse conditions because it has been a child of that land evolving over thousands of years. The tolerance of a person towards even the harshest of climate and altitude all because he is a native.
Living locally and in tandem with what is available in our native surroundings help create sustainable human systems and is supportive of natural ecosystems. If we are to take the scenario now, during the lockdown, we have been forced to go local… the once forgotten kirana stores are now our only source of essentials. The fruit and vegetable vendors whom we had replaced with the clean and oh so well-arranged shelves in the departmental stores with exotic foods, became our saviors during tough times. What was incredible was the freshness of the produce as the formers found direct customers thereby earning better than usual times when they are looted by middlemen.
Besides, there are invaluable benefits in eating and procuring local essentials. Our bodies, which have evolved over millions of years—adapt to our natural surroundings and respond the best to foods which are local to us. We can now hear even expert nutritionists singing gyaan about going local and embracing foods which we have grown up with instead of lapping up exotic varieties which our bodies, at cellular levels, do not even recognize.
One of the biggest contributors to global warming and climate change is transportation due to globalisation. A globalization that has led to innumerable modes of travel and transportation, all which guzzle fossil fuels that leave behind tonnes of carbon emissions. Despite all its ups, a dragon fruit that we so relish in India from a Thailand has had a carbon footprint that if continued would require several of our planets to sustain. And this is just one example.
If you are keen on knowing your own carbon footprint, here’s a website you could use.
Besides food, supporting local manufacturers, traders, sellers, skilled professionals ensure a sustainable micro ecosystem which can thrive as the dependence on long supply chains and logistics is minimal. Not that is it wrong to expand and look for alternatives that may not be the closest, however if we could calculate and assess our decisions also factoring in our impact and cost to the environment, we could maybe be able to contribute to healthier and sustainable ecosystems. Plus, it is a great way to build community.
Here are a few things we could do from home:
- Chose local fruits and vegetables over exotic ones which we know for sure are cold storage and have travelled long distances.
- Eat seasonal. Look for fruits and vegetables which are cheaper or cheapest to buy. The abundant availability happens during the season and anything out of season will be priced higher.
- Leverage local artisans and promote them while picking gifts for friends and family.
- Look for indigenous variety of plants, herbs and materials while using ingredients for DIY projects.
- Set a radius and assess your capability so you can choose to walk or cycle for any chores within that radius.
- Go hyper-local by identifying home chefs and bakers who could be within your gated community or block.
- Invest and gather people and buy-in to create community gardens when you can grow your own vegetables and fruits.
- Grow trees which are indigenous varieties and require less care but bear more fruit.
Can you think of more ways to go local? Share them here in the comments .
Love and Grace!