Thanks to some helpful comments on last week's local-food post, I've discovered it's not too hard to find online information about what's in season near you and where to buy it (some places to start: Local Harvest, foodroutes.org, Sustainable Table, and Slow Food). The trouble is that most of these will just direct you to the news site of the farmers' market in your area -- there's no single global database where you can type in where you are and it will give you info on what's in season (and where to buy it). There's a certain logic, of course, since the info is local by definition. But I still think the sustainable food sites are missing a big opportunity, and here's why:
Currently, buying local food is a multi-step procedure which is not easy to share with your worldwide Internet friends. You must (1) go to one of the global sites (linked above), (2) type in your location so it will tell you how to find out about your local farmers' market, (3) go to the market or read their newsletter to discover what's in season, (4) find a recipe. None of those steps are hard, but in today's insta-society, that's perversely just hard enough to turn local food buying into some sort of obscure, esoteric hobby. And it's unfortunate because -- if they would just pool their databases and hook up with a big recipe database -- they could turn the procedure into a single fun click that could go viral in a snap!
I think I'll email the sites above and tell them to get on the ball. ;^)
Meanwhile -- even without checking the Internet -- I've started one local food habit, and I hope you will all be impressed by how very eco-friendly this is!
I like to buy beer from a local shop, and bring it home via public transportation. And -- going the extra mile -- I schlep it up two flights of stairs since we don't have an elevator. (Hey, it's cheaper than going to the gym!) The cool thing is that they sell the beer in re-usable bottles, so when we're done drinking it, we bring the bottles back. Then -- since the brewery is right near Zürich -- the bottles hardly waste any energy in transit making the round trip to be refilled with beer so we can buy them again!
Poking around their website, I don't see anything about them using local and/or organic ingredients. And yet, I think there's a high probability that they are using local organic ingredients. The Swiss are like that. It's one of the things I like about Switzerland. :D