Thursday, May 5, 2011

All About Local

Today, for lunch, I made Pita. Let me just say that I love Pita. It's easy (although it takes a little bit more time than, say, a loaf of French bread), but it's pretty foolproof for me. I mean what could be easier than flat bread that can either be fried or baked, but is always cooked in the middle ;)?

In addition the Pita, I boiled some eggs (from our chickens), and Precious went out and harvested dandelion greens and chives, which I sauteed in a bit of butter. I stuffed one half of the Pita with sliced, boiled eggs and the sauteed greens. For the other half, I made egg salad to which I added home-canned pickles and chives, and a bit of mayonnaise.

If the bread is half the meal, the other half was all foraged and locally cultivated (eggs, foraged greens, home-canned pickles).

I used to spend a lot of time on this blog talking about our local diet, and I've moved out of that habit, because, at this point, it's not a surprise that a significant portion of each meal is local, but PatriciaLynn posted a link in the comments section of a recent post.

According to the link, the minimum sized lot that will allow some degree of self-sufficiency is two acres. I'm sure Patricia shared that link with me, because she figured I'd have something to say about it ... and I do ... and it's that I don't agree with their assertion ... and I believe their "findings" do a great disservice to those of us who live in the suburbs and implies a bunch of facts that aren't wholly true.

I'm planning a post about that graphic, which will, hopefully, be up in the next few days.

In the meantime, I'll leave you to ponder this - my partially raised on my quarter acre, partially foraged and partially imported meal.


  1. Oh, yay - can't wait to see what you have to say about that graphic. When I saw it, my first thought was "I have to share this with Wendy." ~grins~

    That pita bread looks awesome - did you ever post the recipe? I'd like to try might make a great change from the sandwiches I send with hubby to work.

  2. We'll have to swap recipes, Wendy. My pitas are thicker - maybe I just could roll them out thinner like yours....Lunch looks delicious!

  3. On the face of it, such an assertion sounds absurd. But I suppose in the end it all comes down to, "it depends." It depends on how you define a "degree of self-sufficiency." It depends on how many people want to be self-sufficient on those two acres. It depends on what lifestyle they're trying to support. And of course, much depends on the attributes of those two acres. Two acres of rocky desert won't have much in common with two acres of prime farmland that's been under organic practices for the last 30 years. If you average all those things out, well, maybe 2 acres isn't a bad guess. But it would be just that - a guess for a whole lot of averages. You know as well as I do that a great deal can be done on less than an acre. Priorities come into it in a big way.

  4. Oh, I love it! 2 acres. Wow, no wonder we can't feed the world. My family of 4 lives quite well on what we produce in our 20' x 20' kitchen garden, with some additional food from our side yard orchard/berry patch(it's a bit bigger than a normal front yard). We do add in eggs and meat from chickens, rabbits, and goats (and a cow...) that range out over an area bigger than a typical suburban yard. But if you got rid of the cow (she is an extravagance) and were willing to forage for animal feed a bit, we could easily live on half an acre, probably less as we got better at it. We do import grain, some for us, and a bit for chicken feed. We would all be healthier if we stopped, but WE LIKE IT (addiction...?)

  5. It's so sad if a figure like that prevents even one person from trying. I have a normal suburban lot, I figure anything I grow and we eat is a plus. A plus that I know what's in it, a plus that it has no food miles and a plus that reduces my grocery bills! Your Pitas look nom btw!

  6. Well if you live in the great frozen north, shouldn't you include your intake from ice fishing and stealing carcasses from polar bears? LOL, but seriously you growing season seems so short, that would also have to be an issue.

    They have an awful lot of animals in the graphic, and electricity. It also looked like they had a little orchard: which can be a great output versus effort item, but not usually space intensive.

    I think they are saying the bare minimum to sustain a typical modern life, because certainly our forefathers survived without any electricity.

  7. Another thing. I finally went and looked at that graphic and the math is waaay off. Thirteen hens to produce 1000 eggs per year? That works out to less than 3 eggs per day from 13 birds. Our four hens produced over 1100 eggs last year. I have no idea where the egg figures came from, but that's nuts. And while 5 square feet per chicken is fine in rotational grazing, you'd need a lot more than the allotted 65 sq ft to avoid long term damage to the soil from the chicken manure. What this says to me is that someone without any actual experience of producing their own food took a bunch of government statistics (probably generated for large scale agricultural enterprises) and extrapolated them for small spaces, resulting in nonsense.

  8. hahaha we had dandelion greens and chives in our salad last night. It was added to a head of romaine from CA, but I was still happy to have that handful of front lawn bounty.