Turning Life Green

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Although I’ve been interested in farmer’s markets and eating locally and organically for a while, I didn’t really push myself to do it until last year. Before that I’d been doing things here and there, what I would consider token changes. Organic cereals and vegetables that were to be pureed for my son. But now I am trying for our family to make the shift to eating as much as possible from local sources. We’re so lucky to live in a place where we can get fresh fruit and vegetables all year long, not to mention the fantastic sources of meat, eggs, and dairy. However, eating only local and organic foods is a bit of a problem.

At the market

This is the face of a child who wants bananas every single day. He won’t quite understand that Mommy doesn’t want to buy bananas anymore because they come from very far away and really bad things are connected with banana harvesting. While sometimes you can easily explain that the bananas are all gone, other times this answer results in a 20-minute screaming tantrum.

The kid likes his bananas.

Another issue is my husband, who never manages to buy the organic milk, buys apples all year long, and doesn’t understand that “napkin” means the pile of cloth napkins at the table, not the roll of paper towels on the counter. He also seems to get upset about the amount of money we spend at the market, no matter how much food it ends up buying. If I’m stocking up on meat half the time I don’t even get to check out the produce stands before he says, “I think that’s enough.”

It’s pretty frustrating to hear that we can only eat local if it doesn’t disrupt his habits.

There was a recent article in the New York Times that discussed this problem – the green gap between couples. We’re not to the point of therapy, but it’s interesting to see that this sort of thing isn’t just happening in my house.

We’re working with baby steps, I know. Changing behavior is a lot harder than changing what is available – obviously if I only stocked the house with local and organic ingredients we’d be eating on goal. But that doesn’t mean the next time we run out of something there won’t suddenly be Jif, Diet Coke, or Doritos in the house. I already have the “nothing in the house” problem when we’re actually stocked full – just not of the ready-to-eat things my husband is used to.

So much of it boils down to education. People are told to eat local, eat in season, but they don’t know what that means. They go to the grocery store and it is stocked full of everything you could want, year-round. Sadly, too many people actually don’t care where their food comes from or what’s in it. I’m working to change that, starting with my own family.

Do you and your housemates have differing ideas about food? How do you deal with it?

5 Comments

  1. I care about eating locally, but living in New Hampshire that would mean basically eating only frozen vegetables all winter long and no fruits at all. It’s difficult for sure. Best of luck!

  2. Love this perspective. I have a green gap, although it is shrinking, with my sis and we do family dinner most Sunday nights. It can be a little exasperating…

  3. It *is* hard sometimes. As long as my husband doesn’t come shopping, I can get away with it all. However, the banana thing with my toddler son is an entirely different situation. Sigh.

    1. @Julia, I know what you mean about not bringing the husband along! I try to keep him as non-involved in the food buying as possible to preserve my sanity. My son goes through phases with the bananas – he often forgets they exist, but other days it’s full-on tantrum. I’m happy it will be spring soon (at least here) and we can get local strawberries, his other favorite fruit.

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