Lately much of my personal "eco-focus" has been around food. No surprise really, considering I love food and cooking. I think it all started with discussions at my son's school about healthy lunches, which launched into reading of several books with an aligned message: "eat local, unprocessed, REAL food."
I finished Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I've also almost read most of Real Food by Nina Planck. Next I hope to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, as many people have recommended it. I mention these books because I found the progression to be logical: from an overview of our food system down to the specifics of what we should eat at home.
So in addition to looking for organic, I look for local. I'd rather have a local apple sustainable farmed (even if not certified organic) over an organic one from a big, agro-business. Sometimes the search is confusing. For instance, my sister-in-law pointed out to me that she can get organic milk, but it is ultra-pasteurized (also labeled UHT, for "ultra-high temperature). Wouldn't it be better to avoid the ultra pasteurization? I am lucky I have an organic, regular pasteurized milk form a local dairy available to me. But answering her question is no simple matter.
All my thinking about food is appropriate as San Francisco is preparing to host to the first ever Slow Food Nation extravaganza next weekend (8/29 - 9/1). It is a celebration of food that is sustainable, just, and delicious. There are many tastings, tours, speakers, and special dinners to attend. Tickets and more information is available on the Slow Food website.
I think it is really good to have an understanding about why food choices are important, not just to our bodies but to our environment as well. Ultimately, I think it is great to learn all I can so I can make the best choices, but I won't beat myself up if I cannot be perfect all the time. I'm all for enjoying food and living rather than making myself crazy over the details.