Saturday, February 11, 2012

6 Ways to Make Valentine's Day Local

Don't forget to take the Local Food in Your Life survey. Results posted at the end of the month.

Photo by Box Me Up and Ship Me Out

It starts off as a cliche:  I'm standing in the aisle at the grocery store, looking at a wall of imported foods.  I'm leaning over the case at the jewelry store, gazing at sparkly things from around the world.  I'm walking between the rows of flowers harvested thousands of miles away and flown in.

Everywhere we look, we're surrounded by wonderful things collected from around the world and transported directly into our neighborhoods.  Sometimes we don't even think about how many things and ingredients and components from other lands are included in our everyday life.  This valentine's day, I'm taking a moment to think about my buying choices, and trying to find a way to support my local economy by buying local.  Here are six ways you can make a difference and substitute a local item for something imported.

1.  Fruity Drinks
Eating out is maybe the most common way of celebrating Valentine's day with the one we love.  Those cocktails are filled with tropical fruits and liquors brought in from far away places.
Fruity Drink photo by Miss Peach
Local alternative:  Rogue beer.  The Chateau Rogue label of Rogue Brewery is 100% local ingredients and a perfect substitute for imported mixed fruity drinks.  Rogue pub in the Pearl has a good  supply.

2.  Flowers
Everyone gives flowers on Valentine's day.  Their bright colors light up any room.  It's too bad they are cut by impoverished child workers, flown around the hemisphere in a day, and trucked across the land to get to the store in time.

Local alternative.  Red Kale.  This colorful and hearty winter green is not only beautiful but edible.  Available wherever local veggies are sold.

3.  Chocolates
These sweet morsels are the classic gift to give to your sweety.  Unfortunately there is nothing local about the cacao and sugar needed to make these.

Local alternative:  Six cleaned trout. Locally and sustainably caught trout can be a great alternative to foreign mass-produced candy.  Ask Flying Fish Company what they have in stock.
Photo by Cobalt_grrl
4.  Jewelry
Although it is very common to make your partner's eyes shine with precious gems, jewelry is nearly always trucked in from somewhere far away where it was probably extracted from the ravaged ground of a destroyed ecosystem.

Local alternative: Raw oysters.  These little gems always say "I love you" and their legendary aphrodisiac qualities can give a little boost to the second half of your Valentine's day.  Yeowzers!  Check Eat to find great oysters in Portland.
Photo by mindync

Photo by Dyste's Grocery
5.  Perfume
Many people like giving and getting perfume on Valentine's day. Sometimes there is nothing better than dressing up and smelling good.  Unfortunately, these little bottles of scented chemicals are filled with unpronounceable tinctures from the corners of the earth.

Local alternative:  5 lbs. chuck roast.  What would be better than the down home aroma of a hearty stew simmering on the stove.  5 lbs. slab of locally raised red meat is just the thing you need.

6.  Lingerie
Although this is usually a gift for yourself rather than the other person, lingerie is something many people buy on Valentines' day for the loved one.  However, almost all lingerie is made from synthetic materials derived from petroleum products making this outfit not only imported, but a sure way to increase your carbon butt-print.

Local alternative:  A block of butter.  Just because it tastes better than polyester.  And it's spreadable.  Available from any of the local dairies, like Noris Dairy.
Hopefully this has been helpful.  Take a few minutes this year to find ways to make your Valentine's Day more local.  Happy Valentine's Day!

No comments:

Post a Comment