Sustainable Table, Part 3: Availability

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By Erin Maxson

Growing your own produce can be an intimidating thing, not to mention preparing and preserving it. But there are lots of resources to help you get started on your sustainable table. Making a commitment to eating locally and sustainably can be as convenient or as involved as you want it to be; that choice comes down to you.

To the tune of picking the berries, produce, breads, cheeses, and meats are selected from dozens of vendors. Buying local products from a farmers market is a growing trend; there are hundreds across the country, more than a dozen in Southern Oregon.

If you need a recipe for zucchini – or just about anything else – Michelle Pryce is your lady.

“People have just gotten so busy,” says Pryse. “It’s hard to find the time to do some of these simple our grandmas and forbears really did just as a matter of course.”

Pryse has been gardening, cooking, and preserving for years, slowly growing a green thumb among other things.

“I worked two jobs, 6 days a week, and I just found a little place in my schedule where I could plant something,” explains Pryse. “If you just start with something and then each year you can let it grow a little bit.

Now, many years later, Pryse says that hard work has paid off – literally.

“It allows me to stay home. The contribution I make by gardening and preserving food and all of the things I do at home allows me to be at home,” Pryse. “It’s like a second income, it’s almost invisible, but it’s supporting the infrastructure of our family budget.

If a tomato plant or zucchini vine still intimidates you, there are plenty of resources. The Southern Oregon OSU Extension Office has classes from growing to cooking to preserving; they have never been more popular. Most local food activists say education is available; it just needs to be sought out. And if you’re serious, odds are you won’t have trouble finding a mentor.

If working the hives or the soil and working a class or two into your schedule isn’t possible, there are still several options for a sustainable table. While the majority of the products in your typical grocery store are not local there are some good finds it’s a good start for a someone looking for a convenient one stop shop or you could always go online.

No matter how you get it on your table, eating locally eating sustainably is a personal choice and as for the question, what counts as local? Well, that something you also get to decide.


Here’s more information on farming and food: