Non-Fiction: The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food by Amy Cotler

So many people are talking about green issues these days, alternative lifestyles have gotten to be mainstream. Long gone are the days when a hostess could plunk a steak down in front of dinner guests without first asking about food preferences and considering the social and moral implications of such an act. In the West, we are critically concerned with the consequences of our actions and while, in broad strokes, that’s a good thing, on a micro level, it can get a little cloying. And you’ve encountered those books. Self-righteous finger-pointers waggling correctively at us while we choke on the meat fiber that would otherwise have been enjoyed.

Amy Cotler’s The Locavore Way (Storey Publishing) isn’t that book. Quite the opposite, in fact. Cotler brings the uninitiated joyously into the fold, while taking those already moving towards a slower food lifestyle more deeply into a world she is comfortable with: both to travel in and to share. She explains herself and her mission succinctly, then shows us how to get to where she’d like us to go: to a place where fresh food is simply cooked and joyously shared. She makes this sound like an attainable place. She makes it sound like Nirvana:

Imagine a healthy landscape, dotted with small farms raising food without ravaging the land, water and air, promoting better-nourished communities and local economies, and creating less dependence of the fossil fuels needed to transport food from afar.

As idyllic as she makes it sound, in subsequent pages she demonstrates that this is more than a distant vision. For many people, it’s a growing reality. With stories, profiles, recipes and tips, Cotler engages us with possibilities and ideas.

Here, from a slender book filled with great real-world examples of how to bring local and organic into your life, a list that breaks things down to its most essential components (something this author does very well):

Why Bother?
10 Reasons to Eat Locally Produced Food:

1. For the sheer pleasure of it.
2. To connect.
3. For the health and safety of your family and yourself.
4. For the health of our planet.
5. To boost the local economy, community and region.
6. For an open, working landscape.
7. To maintain biodiversity.
8. To support our neighboring farms and farmers.
9. To prepare our culinary heritage.
10. To give us a just choice.

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