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A Locavore Talks: Interview with Mangochild, Pt. III

You’ve heard the backstory.  You’ve seen the freezer.  Today, our interview with Mangochild finishes up with a look at the best and worst parts of being a locavore, along with what the future holds.  Enjoy!

Have you had any unexpected and positive side effects from living as a locavore?

One positive consequence is that I am becoming more outgoing. I am generally a quiet person with all but my parents, but this has pushed me into a community of sorts and given me a reason to really speak up for my views in an expressive way (without pushing it on anyone, just explaining my choice) while connecting with others (see above) to build resources. It’s also immunized me to my fear of bugs! Almost my whole life, I was terrified of pretty much all bugs and just hid inside when they would come around. I shrieked at the tiniest fly and would drive the family mad. But somehow, through my modest gardening ventures this past summer, that all disappeared. While I don’t love them, I am okay with their presence, see their effects on the world (good and bad), learn how to be proactive against the negative effects, and just generally am more focused on the joy of my garden than the bugs. What else? I feel like I am more aware and conscious of my choices. I really believe that we all make the choices as we can in the moment, given our needs and resources, as well as the pressures and strains we are experiencing at the time. What I can do now might be either less or more than I will be able to do in 5 years. What I can do might be out of reach for another, maybe because of cost or time. That’s okay.  We should each do what’s right for us, as long as it is an informed and conscious decision. I might choose to drink milk, others believe that it is not the right choice for them for ethical reasons.  Others eat meat even though I don’t. That’s okay. But back to the answer, being local has made me understand better why I choose what I do/don’t. I can’t think of making a decision blindly. Information and reason is so important to me, and being local has built that up so much.

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A Locavore Talks! Interview with Mangochild, Pt. Deux

Welcome back!  Sorry I’ve been so busy, but I do have a new installment in the interview with the fabulous Mangochild!  Pull up a chair and sit a spell.  If you missed the first installment, check it out as well!  Below, you can see one of the photos from Living in a Local Zone that compelled me to goggle, then drop Mangochild a line and pry her about her willingness to do an e-mail interview.

Can you see my intrigue?  Let’s get back to the interview, shall we?

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Meeting the Readers: Mangochild, Part 1

Mango picture used under GNU license, courtesy of Fir0002

One of the most interesting things for me about the foray into Bloggalandia is the people.  See, there’s all this space in the great, wide world, and the internet just sort of tessers you right over it a la Wrinkle in Time.  In a click, you can be in someone else’s lap, living room, what have you.

I’ve been enjoying your living rooms.  I’ll steer clear of your laps, however.

Don’t take it personally.  I’m sure they’re lovely.

But I digress.  What I meant to say is that, regardless of my position relative to your living rooms OR your laps, I have greatly enjoyed the ability to find common ground with people whom I never would have met otherwise.  Mangochild, frequent poster here and author of her own site, Living in a Local Zone, is one such person.  I was amazed when I took a gander at her blog some time ago and saw the extent to which she had committed to eating locally throughout the entire winter.  She puts squirrels to shame, both for her superior industriousness and for the beautifully varied diet she has socked away in her home.  I wanted to know more.  What kind of person is able to do this?  Does she have a “real” job, or has she opted out of the formal economy to embrace this lifestyle?  How did she know what to store, or how much of it?  Does she ever get sick of potatoes ’round about this time of year?  How feasible is it for other people to do some or all of what she’s doing?

So I cornered the poor gal.  And I asked her if she’d like to talk about some of this over here at Simple Spoonful for some of the curious folks who may be just starting to scratch at this idea of local eating, or preparing all their own food, or both.  If you’ve read many of her friendly and thoughtful comments on this site, I doubt you’ll be surprised to hear she was gracious enough to consent to an e-mail interview.  Over the next few days, I will be posting her responses.  Check it out…she’s new to a lot of these concepts, but she has made incredible strides toward food independence over the last year.  It’s good stuff.  But enough of me.  Let’s let Mangochild talk, shall we?

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Vegetarianism 101: The Up Side for You

Looking at the details of the meat-packing industry, the importance of consuming meat from naturally raised, antibiotic-free animals with space to move around becomes obvious. However, raising animals this way means it takes longer to grow them to the desired size for slaughter and you need a lot more space for them to feed on grass. For that reason, buying organic, grass-fed beef or organically raised pork or poultry in the grocery store can be prohibitively expensive for people on a budget. Plus, the “organic” label is far from perfect where meats are concerned. After all, hopefully you’ve surmised by now that feeding a cow organic corn doesn’t improve its health much.

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Vegetarianism 101: Confined Animal Feeding Operations

A lot of vegetarians have chosen their diets because of a belief that killing animals for food is wrong. While the Unicyclist and I respect that belief, we are aware that tilling fields and clearing them kills a lot of rabbits, mice, pheasants, and the like. Basically, modern agriculture isn’t animal-friendly any way you slice it. Even so, ethics are a part of why we are vegetarians.

In the past couple days, I covered some of the impacts of industrial ranching and CAFOs (Confined or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, depending on whom you ask) on your health and the health of the environment. For anyone wanting to have a realistic understanding of the wider implications of the way they eat, looking at the conditions in CAFOs is essential.

In about fourteen months, a steer in a CAFO will go from 80 to 1100 pounds and to slaughter, raised on a diet of corn, protein and fat supplements, and drugs. Animals in a CAFO are packed into a confined space, be that a pen crowded with other animals, or, in the case of many pregnant pigs, in a tiny enclosure where they likely can’t turn around.

Original image courtesy of the EPA

Original image courtesy of the EPA

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Vegetarianism 101: Your Health

Someone cover the ears of the beef lobby. (And the pork lobby.) I gots something to tell you.

Ready? Okay.

Meat isn’t good for you. In fact, substantial evidence has been mounted showing that, as a cornerstone of your diet, it’s actually harmful for you.

When I say meat is harmful for you, I’m talking about “modern meat,” the kind fed whatever is cheapest and gets the meat to market fastest, the kind produced in produced in factory-like operations, the kind kept in such close, crowded confines that cutting beaks and tails is routine. I’m not fixated on saturated fats and cholesterol when I say this. Honestly, I think that meat raised under certain conditions can be a healthful food, especially for certain individuals. However, that is not the way the meat industry is run in this country.

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Vegetarianism 101: The Environment

In the past five years, there has been a reawakening of environmentalism. People are switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, thinking about where they set their thermostats, and trying to conserve gas. The number one reason driving these changes (besides the fact that they can help you save money) is the Dreaded Greenhouse Gas Bogeymen and how said bogeymen influence global warming.

Don’t get me wrong: I think global warming is an issue that we absolutely need to be responsible about. However, there’s a lot more to keeping earth healthy for us and other species than just greenhouse gases and global warming. I’m talking water quality, air quality, soil quality. I’m talking biodiversity on land and in the water. One thing Al Gore didn’t mention in his film, An Inconvenient Truth, is that reducing your meat consumption or becoming vegetarian will cause perhaps the single greatest impact in reducing stress on the planet.

What's the carbon footprint of the livestock industry?

What is the carbon footprint of the livestock industry?

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Where’s the Beef? Vegetarianism 101

Remember 1984, people? (The year, not the book.)

Okay, I am dating myself with that. But you know what? I am dated.

So, where is the beef? It’s a decent question. To answer that, I’m going to spend a couple posts taking you on a journey to find out where the beef has been. Buckle your seatbelts, folks. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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