November 3, 2010

...today I promised an answer to why...

Why did we decide that not eating out was a goal worth setting?   
Why do we believe that eating in is relevant and valuable to our lives?  
Why bother articulating it?

Ask any mother of a toddler the question ‘Why?’ and she’ll say with surety – ‘Because.’  Sometimes the answers to such a simple question get a bit overwhelming and the only clear answer seems to be because.  However, before we made this choice we talked long and hard about why we would make this choice and we found our definitive because.
Why did we decide to eat in for a year?
Because we believe eating in is a form of active and intentional consumption.

The consumer based economic model that we all live within and participate in is laughably broken.  We all know this, and yet, finding a way to break out of the mold is difficult.  We {Phil and I} were tired of looking at ourselves and say “oh well.”  We wanted to make a change.  We began asking ourselves what we could do to support production based industry while minimizing waste.  This wasn't initially a journey about food.

We looked at our expenditures and we realized that we don’t actually participate in the consumption model – except when it comes to food.  And so, instead of patting ourselves on the back for all of the things we’re doing right we decided to attack the thing we could change.  It was time to re-evaluate the way we ate.

We had initially decided upon taking the 100 Mile Diet pledge.  Living in Japan, a nation that imports 59% of all food {over $40 billion in 2009}, we became acutely aware of how little control we were able to have over the food we consumed.  We wanted to be more conscious in our consumption.  However, unless we move within 100 miles of both a rice farmer and coffee grower, this is simply not a pledge we could uphold.  We did consider moving to Southeast Asia to make that dream come true, but have determined that this is not the season for that change.  {In the interest of full disclosure, I had previously taken the pledge and failed to uphold it.}

Every time we considered the choice to eat organic or sustainable or local we kept going back to the need to rely on others.  We felt that these were not the choices we were called to make, the change needed to be more manageable and yet also more intentional.  The change needed to be about us, not about the source.

And so we decided to not eat out – or more truthfully – we chose to eat in.  Using the money we spend on food at home instead of at the coffee shop, pizza joint, or even funky little locovore café was how we knew we could move towards active, intentional consumption.   A secondary goal that we have for this year is to shift our purchasing habits in line with our ideal food philosophy.

And so, that is the big because.  It is the one we both agree upon.  However it is not the only one.  Tomorrow I will address my personal answer to why.  It is not Phil’s, it is mine and it has two parts.  

Please come back and take a peek at my not so simple answer to the question why.  Sometimes one because just doesn't seem like enough to me.

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