St. John Parish sugar farmers sent Louisiana sugar cane to Alaskan schoolchildren through the USDA “Agriculture in the Classroom” program–allowing kids on the frozen frontier to understand the agricultural origins of a supermarket staple, and for us, a nice reminder of Louisiana’s agricultural and environmental riches.
In the past few years, significant attention has focused on the idea of local eating, with authors like Barbara Kingsolver and others documenting their efforts to eat within a circumscribed geographic radius (usually 100 to 500 miles) of home. Somehow, the locavore‘s restrictions don’t hold the same punch here in south Louisiana. A strictly local eater wouldn’t have to give up sugar, or citrus, or watermelon, or strawberries, or oysters-shrimp-crabs, or endless varieties of fish from catfish to tuna, or okra, corn, mirliton, eggplant, most herbs, pecans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower……sugarcane grows and beef cattle graze in fields I pass on my daily commute. Rice is harvested a short distance away. Aside from missing vanilla, coffee, bananas, and wheat flour, the Louisiana locavore isn’t going to starve, even in winter. The foundations of our vibrant food culture rest on all of this abundance & diversity.