Please join me in welcoming Colleen from Five Little Homesteaders as my next Local Perspective! Colleen, a mama to three (soon to be four) and a homesteader after my own heart, is DIYing everything in sight and continually surprising me with her energy and enthusiasm for all things homestead related. I have her dishwasher tabs and sourdough English muffins on my to-do list and kick myself each time I realize I still haven’t made either! Additionally, I appreciate her honesty when it comes to the challenges she has faced in feeding her family of five a local diet. She reaffirms that even though one can’t “do it all”, you can do what you’re doing and do it well 🙂
I hope you enjoy reading her perspective as much as I have!
I am so excited to be sharing my thoughts on local eating today on Ever Growing Farm. Melissa and her family are a constant source of information and inspiration for me, so I am honored to be here. I blog at Five Little Homesteaders where I share our adventures in urban farming with chickens and children. Our little urban homestead is located in Phoenix, Arizona.
That said, I am a somewhat unlikely contributor to a local eating challenge, though perhaps some of you can relate to my faults.
To be honest, aside from what I grow in my backyard, eating local hasn’t really been a huge priority of mine. I have three young children and when it comes to grocery shopping, getting in and out quickly without a huge meltdown is my first priority and pretty much trumps everything else. I’m lucky to live in the desert southwest and thus a lot of food is grown locally, especially if you define it loosely. Between Arizona, Southern California and Mexico, I can get much of my produce from places that take less than a day to drive to. To me, that is relatively local. This is the main reason I am so excited to be a part of this challenge. While I am (somewhat of) an expert in many areas of homesteading and sustainability, a focus on and owning the importance of local eating is one area that I could definitely use some improvement.
On the other hand, a trip to a local farmers market is a real treat and as I said, I’m lucky that, aside from the dead of summer, I can find many varieties of fruits and vegetables that are in season and locally grown. I am especially grateful that there are large scale operations like eurofresh that reside within Arizona and make it easy to get mainstream, local produce. It is easy to get local citrus, tomatoes and lettuce at traditional area supermarkets.
As for splurging on non-local produce, I would say our three biggest splurges are bananas, brussels sprouts and apples. Last year we did head to a local orchard located about 4 hours south of Phoenix and picked several bushels. We ate those and preserved them but on a regular basis, apples from this orchard (and others) are not locally available.
As I mentioned above, we do grow a lot of our own produce. We have several hundred square feet of gardening space on our urban property and aside from the hottest months of July and August, we have something growing all of the time. So, when I say that local eating isn’t a huge priority, that is a bit of a misnomer. Anyone who has gardened in a serious way knows that it is a lot of work and that ripe, healthy produce does not come easy. Becoming 100% self-sufficient in our produce is a dream of mine and something my husband and I are working towards.
Thank you so much for taking the time to consider my thoughts on local eating. Perhaps some of you can relate to my challenges, while others think I am just being lazy. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts (and tips!) on local eating.
Colleen is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom to three little ones – ages 4, 3, and 2. Her days are filled with laughing and tears, joys and frustrations, toddlers and babies. The basics of gardening were gifted to her by her mother and father starting at a very young age. Through their urban homesteading adventures, she hopes to lead her family down the path of leading a more sustainable, intentional, and full life. You can follow along with Colleen’s homesteading adventures on her blog, Five Little Homesteaders and on her Facebook page.