Growing up, Austin was my normal. My parents used canvas bags 15 years before they became mandatory. They always had a huge seasonal vegetable and herb garden. A fennel and beet salad was a normal side at dinner. Local restaurants were the destination of choice. To me, that was normal, and the way I assumed the rest of the world lived.
Yet as I grew into my formidable teenage years I could not understand why someone would want to spend their weekends tending to a garden. Who were these crazy people raising me? In their oversized straw hats, spending so much time in the dirt all for some vegetables. Taking the compost out was literally the worst chore in the world.
Yes, Austin is known for being progressive and “keeping it local” but striking up a conversation about your parents composting methods or summer tomatoes during high school English was never going to happen. And I wanted nothing to do with it.
During my college years I began to understand my parents were doing their part in living a local and sustainable life. They didn’t preach it, they lived it and they had rooted these practices in me. What can I say, it rubbed off.
After graduating and taking a job in Panama working for a sustainable development nonprofit, I got to see first hand another culture that valued living and working in harmony with the land. Upon moving back to the states and falling into the food world I gained a since of urgency to explore local living and healthy lifestyle. My upbringing and these experiences culminated into an “ah ha!” moment. I began to make manageable changes to gear me towards a healthier lifestyle. This realization was powerful yet overwhelming.
I was no expert. I lived in an apartment, where would I start a garden? Not to mention, although I watched my parent’s garden and picked up a few things along the way, since leaving for college I had little gardening experience of my own. My biggest question was where do I start? Kale and spinach juicing everyday? Can I even afford to buy all local and organic? How can I best tap into the local food community? How can I incorporate local and sustainable practices into my lifestyle?
I believe a lot of people have a baseline understanding and interest in a local lifestyle but it can be hard to know how to make small changes to have great impact. I’ll be writing a series for this blog on how to do just that.
-Getting to know your local community
-Make it manageable & realistic
Let me know what other topics you are interested in an lets explore local living together.