On day 42 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I explored eating local as an act of self-care.
Buying and eating local is important to me.
Not only do I like to support local businesses and growers, I also like knowing where my food comes from. Like many other Americans, my decision to not grow all of my own food means that I have willingly entrusted others to do it for me. But I like to be involved in the process when I can, which is why I shop at local farmers’ markets in the summer and dine at locally owned restaurants as often as possible.
Another way that my husband and I eat local is by keeping our own chickens, which has been an unbelievably rewarding experience in so many ways.
Since we know what our chickens eat, we’re satisfied that the eggs are nutrient-rich and beneficial to our health. Likewise, because we also know how they are cared for, we’re satisfied that their impact on the environment is a positive, supportive one. The girls eat most of our kitchen scraps, which means we generate less waste to be hauled off to the landfill (and it also means our garbage bill is lower). In addition, we use their high nitrogen bedding to build compost for our garden, and we use their egg shells to ward off slugs that excitedly devour our garden each spring. There are many more benefits to raising chickens that farm fresh eggs.
The process of raising chickens has taught us so much about our relationship with other living things and how, together, we nourish one another. It also reminds us that buying and eating locally supports our community and its ecosystem.
Sometimes being a locavore also means that we have to be willing to get dirty – after all, cleaning out the coop is not pleasant, but it’s absolutely worth it!