Locavore Q & A: Jeni Hill


This post is part of the guest series “Locavore Q & A”. Whether a beginning cook in the kitchen or a seasoned local farmer, we all have different motivations for choosing a locavore lifestyle. Each post highlights a different perspective on local food. Today’s post was written by Jeni Hill from An Herbalist Eats and Like a Fish out of Fargo. Jeni also contributes her recipes and thoughts on food to 20Food.net, where she and I had the chance to meet. Jeni calls Fargo, North Dakota home and has been documenting the challenges of eating local in a smaller community than the Twin Cities.

Q: What is the easiest part of eating local? The hardest?

A: I am relatively new to the locavore movement.  Similar to many other families, eating local wasn’t a priority when I was growing up.  Eating local or seeking out local products wasn’t in our consciousness.  In Apple Valley in the 90’s, I didn’t know of any families raising backyard chickens or tending to vegetable gardens.  Now I know a lot.

Eating local is a change in worldviews.  It’s still not automatic, so my fiancé and I have to be intentional about consuming more local products.  We are not great or even good, by any means, at eating mostly local foods, but we’re being more intentional about supporting local producers, restaurants that prepare local foods, and trying to grow our own food.

For me, the hardest part of eating local is having to put more effort into finding local products.  We were surrounded by co-ops in the Twin Cities.  A few stores in this community sell local produce but their selections are unpredictable (though Sidney’s welcomes special requests).  I have been impressed with the local grocery chains that also incorporate some local products.  For example, I can easily find local honey, flour, and sacks of potatoes.  Purchasing local, organic, and grass-fed meats in grocery stores is cost prohibitive.  I could buy directly from farmers, which would require a lot more foresight and planning (not to mention freezer space).

Q: Summer is in full swing. How are you planning to eat local this season?

A: Soon the farmers market will be open and local farms offer CSA’s.  We are very excited about purchasing our first CSA share this summer, which will ensure organic, local produce each week.  In addition, I tried my hand at container gardening on my balcony.  I have a horrible track record at keeping plants alive and this was no exception.  All of my seedlings died so I replaced everything with arugula and herbs.  Lots and lots of arugula.  I look forward to the challenges of using all of our CSA produce and balcony “garden” and am proud of our two baby steps towards eating more local.

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