Saturday, February 11, 2012

Attention Staff, Hypocrite in Aisle Five

Today presented me with a challenge.

I am teaching an Indian cooking class on Saturday (okay today - it's late!) and today was the day to get the majority of the ingredients.

I had not planned on doing the shopping but things changed.  I am sure you can guess where this is going. 

After three days of blogging about my renewed efforts to support a local food system, there I was, at The Grocery Store (and you know which one I mean). 

The thing is, I did have options.

I could have shopped at The Other Store but I wouldn't have found all of what I needed. 

I could have driven to Stratford to the independent co-op or The Gentle Rain, though I had picked up stuff at the latter store earlier in the week. 

I could have sourced at least a few of the ingredients from local suppliers (ie lamb and chicken) if I had been better organized.

Today highlights the challenge I have set up for myself.

Shopping locally involves way more planning and time.  It isn't convenient.  It is however so many other things - community-building, social, environmentally friendlier -  that the inconvenience isn't a big deal - normally. Today time was of the essence and not just because I was busy but,

Because I was working.  So, I had to ask myself, is my employer willing to pay me the extra time and mileage to do the sourcing in such a way that my values and morals are upheld?  I don't know.  It would mean the cooking classes would be more expensive.  Would people be willing to pay more to offset that cost?  Maybe.  It's a question to ask them.

I am not the first person persuing local food to recognize the added time and sometimes added costs however my experience today does show me just how encompassing food procurement becomes when you are making your choices about more than convenience.

Today was about finding balance.  I am not sure I am going to be able to fulfill my pledge if only because there is no other place selling organic dairy products.  Can I reconcile myself to buying only the things I can't get anywhere else because driving an hour is not a good choice either?  Is that balance?

On a bright note, despite the hypocrisy, I did manage to make paneer from scratch and get one step closer to acting on this idea of a coomunity food cooperative.

Necessity may just be the mother of action.

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