July 6, 2008

Being frank

The 4th of July holiday isn't over for this dog. I need more picnics and food. I need hot dogs — not the kind that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says Americans eat 150 million of every July 4th. I need Franktitude salmon dogs on whole-grain buns. Dog-ma can have the pickles.

Dream on. I can't have Franktitude dogs from Florida. I'm into the local food thing. I'm a REGIONAVORE.

Not a locavore. Locavorism, started in San Francisco, is about drawing the line at 100 miles food-wise — eating only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. This means you can mostly forget wild salmon. And no more Rogue or Deschutes ales, you guys. Why do locavores think that the San Francisco Bay Area is an economically sustainable bioregion? . . .

In Sonoma County, we have an upscale green grocer who's advertising "Eat 150." Just nudge the locavore line and resize our map. Woof? I already eat local farm market veggies, local cage-free eggs, and local poultry. My dog-ma eats other local stuff, too, like local honey and Redwood Hill Farm goat milk yogurt and cheese.

But let's not be loca-loco. Would you disregard our interdependence with all dogs and humans and other living creatures — including fish and trees — in the greater Pacific Bioregion? You know it's 650 miles to Portland, another 175 to Seattle, and yet another 1,100 miles to Ketchikan. You try telling folks in Alaska they'd better relocate down here 'cuz you don't support trade with them anymore. And tell your friends in, say, Seattle or Portland that you don't support their food entrepreneurialism either. . . . So the heck with the fishing industry, the heck with regional trade altogether?

I'm not going to take my paw and redraw the line again here. Being frank, I'm just going to mention a reasonable regional framework for green food trade. Think of our eating community as a socioeconomic bioregion. Think of it as an adaptation of a natural bioregion extending from Baja to Alaska and including coastal lands and rivers and off-shore waters of the Pacific. This is a concept akin to Salmon Nation: our boundaries defined as "anywhere Pacific salmon have ever run."

Salmon Nation flag detail
Quoting from Salmon Nation: "In search of a regional icon — or of a single indicator by which to measure regional health — one could hardly do better. Not only do 137 species depend on salmon as part of their diets, the landscape itself is nourished by them. 'The forest raises the salmon,' writes Richard Manning in his essay The Forests that Fish Built, 'but the salmon also raise the forest. This mutual dependence is the very definition of community, and in the end, the heart of the matter.'"

The heart of the matter. Supporting low-carbon footprint trade without leaving the regional little guys out in the cold. Pass the locally-grown mustard for my nutritious Wild Salmon Club sandwich. Hot diggity dog.

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