Monday, October 1, 2007

Eating Local/October Discount

The New Yorker recently published an article on eating local in NYC. I love my local farmers' market (scroll down bit), but I have to admire this guy for trying to eat ALL local (save for olive oil and spices) in NYC for a whole week. He notes that it's much easier in the fertile and biodiverse valleys of food-obsessed San Francisco. (This is yet another reason why I love SF. For more reasons, read about my recent trip to SF.)

Of course, aside from the dietary restraints and huge time commitment involved with eating all local in NYC, the thing I'd really miss is the TEA. Then again, I could just grow my own.

OR... I could skip a bit of the locavore hype and read this Financial Times article about the environmental impact of shipping food long--and short--distances:

"Transport has been taken out and highlighted," says Rebecca White, a researcher at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute (ECI). "But you can't single out one part [of the food system] and say something that's come from thousands of miles away is automatically less sustainable - it's much more complicated than that."

Sure, I could buy conventionally-grown tea from Charleston, SC to reduce shipping, but I could also source my tea from the biodynamic Makaibari Tea Estate in Darjeeling to reduce my environmental impact in terms of emissions (they use biofuel) and pesticides (they are certified organic). Besides, it's not like tea is something consumed by the pound. The most I ever consume in a day is an ounce. (One ounce of tealeaves can make about ten cups of tea. And that's if you only infuse the leaves once.) If I compare that one ounce to, say, my daily vegetable intake, then I see that shipping tea all the way from India (or Japan, or China, or...) really isn't all that bad.

So, as usual, it's all about the big picture. Why am I not surprized?

All this talk about local and imported food reminded me about the October discount! Anyone from outside NYC who takes a tea tour during October gets a 10% discount. Email me at vee at veetea dot com to set up a tour.

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