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Limited by Locality?
I am trying to transition to a more compassionate way of living, beyond eating a vegan diet and other lifestyle changes, by purchasing local produce to reduce my impact on the environment. During the growing season here in southeastern Pennsylvania, May through October, Iíve been buying most of my fruits and vegetables at a farmerís market, where the produce is from local, and in some cases, organic growers. Iím uncertain, however, about what to do in the cold-weather months. I know that some produce can be grown in cold weather, but it doesnít seem to be marketed in my area. I know that preserved foods are an option--canned, frozen, dried--but Iím not sure about their healthfulness or environmental impact. Iíd like to avoid buying produce from the big chain stores during the winter because itís usually shipped in from long distances, typically California or South America. Any advice?
People who live in regions with multiple seasons face the same dilemma you do--they have the option to eat locally grown produce during the warmer months, but during the dormant seasons they must purchase canned, jarred, dried, frozen, or imported fruits and vegetables, whether from other parts of the country or other parts of the world.
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An option is to purchase large quantities of produce from nearby farmers and can, dehydrate, or freeze it for when locally grown fresh food will not be available. Alternatively, if space, time, and resources permit, you could plant a large garden and can or freeze your excess produce for the coming winter months. You could also build a cold-weather greenhouse so you can grow your own food regardless of the time of year. For many people, however, none of these options is practical. In that case, if you are also opposed to purchasing trucked-in fruits and vegetables or commercially frozen food, the only other solution is to move to a more temperate or tropical climate where food can be grown year-round. Of course, most people cannot just up and move or migrate throughout the year. Thus the majority of us must either severely limit our diets during the dormant seasons or avoid fresh food altogether (both of which could adversely affect our health) or make some concessions. The choice is yours and will depend on how strongly you feel about this issue, your circumstances, your health, and your finances.
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