In 2010 I spent about six months being kind of terrified and heart broken by the idea of moving to a small town.
Sure, I’m from a farm in rural West Virginia where people are the minority to the animals. I love space and quiet and privacy and land. I also really, really love public transportation, anonymity, access to dance classes, Ethiopian food, and that sense that you never know what you may stumble upon.
Ten years of living in cities (Salt Lake City, Portland, Lima Peru) convinced me that that was the life for me.
When we decided to move closer to home we drew an imaginary circle on the map with the folks at the epicenter. The circle spanned a six hour drive in every direction. This included the cities of Cincinnati, Columbus, D.C, Charlotte, Richmond, Ashville, and Pittsburgh. In the end Cville won out. Not a city but a badass small town.
After I got over my initial terror surrounding living in a small town I fell hard for Charlottesville and for the exact reasons that had me shaking in my boots in the first place.
One of the things that I really appreciate about town life is the accessibility of everything. Not just the physical, although it’s true that nothing is very far away, but the fact that six degrees of separation is shrunk to about one or two degrees.
This means that if you want to talk to the mayor you ask 3 friends and most likely one of them has his cell number on hand.
Basically, this is all a long-winded introduction to a post about being a locavore. It’s not that I didn’t feel invested in my previous homes but the combination of small town Cville and the mentality that I may actually live here for a very long time has me feeling more like a locavore than ever before.
Last night I went to a panel discussion presented by the Tom Tom Founders Festival. The focus was on Sustainable Design and the panel included, among others, a women who just started a non-profit cannery.
Virginia Food Works aims to provide farmers with the resources to preserve their harvest through canning and freezing. Very few farmers have any way to turn their goods into non-perishable which means that there’s a lot of waste. It also means that it is really challenging to eat local out of season unless you do the canning yourself.
On the same note, she pointed out that the school year is almost completely outside of the growing season (which was actually intentional, right? So that kids could work on the farm?), creating a huge hurtle to providing local food. Virginia Food Works will provide a way for farmers to make industrial sized cans of green beans and tomato sauce.
Sustainable. Innovative. Functional. Local.
Sometimes Often I feel like being a locavore is relegated to a yuppie privilege. Programs like Virginia Food Works made me really excited because it is trying to fill a real need in our community, not just provide a boutique experience for a wealthy few.
I have no idea how to wrap this up…
Maybe I will after I participate in the first Charlottesville Food Bloggers Round Table podcast discussion this afternoon. Just another way that Charlottesville is accessible, as I probably wouldn’t have come across this opportunity to chat with Andrea, Kath, and Jenee on air in a big city. 🙂
What’s your definition of locavore?
For me, it’s an investment in community.
Love the canning concept!
I’ll be visiting Charlottesville this May for a friend’s wedding out at Keswick Vineyards. After reading your post, I’m very excited to have the chance to visit this ‘small’ town. My community in Southern CA is just starting to grasp this idea of Locavore. The more young professionals that move here, the stronger the movement is becoming. I love how our geneartion’s ideas are shifting to support local businesses!
Ha! And I believe that all things foodie/environmental/generally cool are coming from California! Keswick is supposed to be AMAZING and May should be a lovely time to be there (not too hot yet).