Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eating Locally: Easy As Pie

Sure, you’ve considered eating foods from local farms that you purchase at greenmarkets or you get through a CSA share. But for one reason or another, you decide not to. You’re too busy, it’s too expensive, or it’s too inconvenient.

That’s where Leda Meredith comes in. The Park Slope resident decided in August 2007 to eat almost exclusively foods grown or raised within a 250-mile radius of her apartment for one year (“The 250”), an experience she chronicled in her first book, a memoir entitled Botany, Ballet and Dinner from Scratch. Since the year ended, she has continued to eat a mostly local diet.

Last month, Meredith released a new book, The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget. In it, she writes that she had embarked on The 250 because she felt “bombarded by each news story of the latest environmental catastrophe that was being intensified by human activity: climate change accelerating at a much faster rate than predicted by scientists just a few years ago; topsoil in the Midwest’s farm belt so depleted and polluted that within a generation we may no longer be able to produce safe food there.”

The Locavore’s Handbook is a compilation of everything Meredith learned during her 250-mile diet. Included is a useful list of which fruits and vegetables are in season when, advice on how best to shop at greenmarkets, tips and resources on how to start a garden, and how to preserve foods. Plus, there are several recipes to try.

She has a chapter devoted to shopping within a budget and one devoted to convenience. An urban forager, she included a chapter with tips on foraging, and with the typical New York City apartment in mind, she offers a lot of advice on organization and storage.

Lest readers get overwhelmed with the wealth of information Meredith offers, at the end of each chapter, she has included a section titled, “If You Do Just One Thing,” where she condenses the chapter into its one most important feature. For someone who wants to start slowly and work his or her way up to locavore, it’s the perfect resource.

Read an interview with Leda Meredith about her new book here.

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