For the past week I would have said that my Eat Local participation was solely eating the local ice cream at the fair. But when I thought more about it I realized that I have made changes to my eating habits that reflect the Eat Local philosophy that I don’t even think about anymore.

1. I made most of my food that I took with me to the fair instead of eating there. Mostly that was to save money. The vegetarian food tends to be expensive. There is a very good fried rice booth but it is $6.00 a plate. So, I made a batch of fried rice here that was enough for two meals and took it with me. I included diced local peppers in the mix.

2. I’ve started preserving the produce I’ve bought. I’ve always planned on doing that each summer but never do. This year I buy the produce I like but don’t necessarily have a use for it right away. So far I’ve frozen cherries, blueberries, diced peppers, and strips of peppers for stir fries. I’m running out of freezer room though. I’ve always wanted a separate freezer. If I have a garden next year I’ll definately need one.

3. I got some local eggs. A person at work has an aunt who gets baskets full of farm fresh eggs. She hands them out to whoever wants them. The supply is erratic from this source. I need to stop at the farms with the signs out front. That worked well for the produce.

When I was at the fair I was appalled at all the recyclables that were being thrown away. It was in the high 90s and people were going through bottled water like crazy. I took all my bottles home with me to recycle. Then I went to the festival yesterday and was thrilled to see as many can and bottle recycling cans as trash cans. I decided to write a note thanking the organization that arranged for those to be there. (It was on the cans.) While searching for an email address today I found out that the program that sponsored it will be eliminated on Sept. 23 because of state budget cuts.

I remember hearing about that. There had been a proposed $5 per person per day charge to use the state parks. That didn’t make me happy because it was going to up the cost of my ride if I had to pay for all my volunteers. Then the day before it was to take effect there was an announcement that money had been found elsewhere. “Elsewhere” turned out to be cutting the recycling programs. This gave me major mixed emotions. Yes I personally was saving lots of money but at the expense of a program I believe strongly in.

In my county it turns out that they are keeping all the recycling infrastructure but eliminating the education department.

While writing this I had an idea. Next year I think I’ll propose to my 4-H club that our community service project be setting up recycling cans in the horse area of the fair. I have a small club and we’d be totally overwhelmed by trying to do the whole fair ourselves. I would volunteer to drive the cans and bottles to the recycling center. The kids could decorate the containers we use to collect the recyclables. I just looked through the 4-H project catalog and there isn’t a recycling project. You can make up your own so maybe I’ll do that. We are always looking for group projects for my club. I think I’ll start looking for what resources are out there for kids that I can adapt.