This week I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how I can appreciate and benefit what's local to me. I've been engrossed in Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle (see M-Pie's blog post about this fabulous book here).
So I've been thinking how I can make my diet more local and support local farming initiatives. I'm lucky enough to have in-laws who live in a countryside paradise and are blessed with an incredible garden and gardening skills to match.
Each year they get more adventurous and there are new additions to the vegetable patch. We're already reaping the early summer rewards of homegrown asparagus, basil and mint (mmm....mojitos). We have the grand tomato harvest and the never-ending stream of squash to look forward to later in the year. I feel exceptionally lucky to have spent the last 5 years benefiting from the bounty and we finally feel brave enough to potentially take on something like this in the very near future.
Who'd have thought some of the best wedding pics could be in front of a vegetable patch, eh?
I've also been really excited to experience some local wildlife. A peregrine falcon family live right on campus at UIC (you can check out the webcam here). They're remarkable cool birds, not least because they learned to adapt to living in cities pretty quickly when their natural habitat started to get sprayed with DDT in the '80s. Oh yeah, and they mate for life which is damn cute and they have ridiculously cute babies too. Right now their feet are way too big for their body which gives them a really tight turning circle. Mostly they totter around till they tumble over a fuzzy pile of their siblings and go right to sleep. Perfect.
So this summer I have plans to make the most of what's on my doorstep: to visit the Art Institute for a couple of exhibitions I have my eye on, do some cycling along the lake and take advantage of farmers' markets and festivals in my area too (in my tonnes of spare time of course, but I can aim high, right?).
All that plus that lovely spell in Millennium Park is making me appreciate the here and now and the variety of experience that you can appreciate right where you are. That's not to say I'm not looking forward to travels and moving, but perhaps local is not so bad after all.