Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Midwest Flooding

At the same time as a growing cognoscenti is touting local eating, there are more and more signs of climate change, or at least wacky weather, if the climate change isn't permanent, yet.

So what's local, and how do we depend on it?** Adam Gopnik, in a recent New Yorker article about his experiment with trying to eat locally in New York City, points out "there are powerful arguments against localism: apart from the inevitable statistical tussles about exactly how much fuel is used for how much food, the one word that never occurs in the evocation of the lost world of small cities and nearby farms is 'famine.'"

We've felt fortunate here in the Midwest - there are small cities and nearby farms, so we are close to the source of lots of good food production.

This August, big portions of the Southwestern Wisconsin flooded, while up North they are still having a drought. People are calling it a hundred year flood, but who knows? One of my friends who gardens told me this spring that WI is getting to be in a different zone; you need to plant different plants. I guess the problem is that the ground is warmer in the spring, but the first frost comes at about the same time. Last night it went down to 49, and tonight they're saying 38 and patchy frost, on September 11.

Some Madison film makers, Gretta Wing Miller & Aarick Beher, made a short movie about the impact of the flooding on organic farmers.

**I'm actually just playing Devil's advocate here; despite Barbara Kingsolver's lament that the babyboomer generation is already so divorced from farming that we have no idea what's in season when, and our kids are even worse, somehow my mother - a city girl through and through- raised me with a horror of out of season produce. Underscoring Kingsolver's (and many other's) primary argument FOR local eating - it tastes best!

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