One of my goals on 43 Things is “Buy local eggs.” When Brady, our Australian Cattle Dog, was taking regular herding lessons in Wasilla, we had a source of flavorful, farm-fresh eggs. Every Saturday morning I loaded Brady, myself, and our “empties” in the car, and several hours later I arrived back home with a tired pup, an exhausted me, and a few dozen eggs.
The local egg-producer in Girdwood is very small-scale, and doesn’t produce enough eggs to supply my fridge regularly.
On my last trip to Natural Pantry, I decided to explore the sign that said, “Local Eggs.” My investigation led me to what was, hands down, the most beautiful egg carton I’ve ever seen.
The eggs are from the Tranquility Heights Farm in Palmer, from chickens raised by a member of the “Wolverine Farm” family. I know it’s irrational, but just holding the carton made me feel more tranquil.
The locavore movement often brings together people with wildly disparate world views. In this case, a non-theistic, gay Unitarian bought eggs from a farm whose blog shouts, “Four Generations Growing Food for God’s Glory.”
At the height of the culture wars, everyone thought that boycotts were the solution. Spot a homophobe? Boycott their business. Disney perceived as gay-friendly? If you’re a Christian, you won’t go to Disneyland.
Now something has shifted. Both sides are shifting from a separatist stance to one of engagement. Instead of boycotts, left and right are beginning to use strategies such as conversation and relationship.
I’m not sure how this shift began. In my case, having a neutral issue (sustainable food) that both left and right care about has encouraged my transition from confrontation to conversation. I’m pretty sure I could have a rip-roaring argument with the farmer who sells pork at the Anchorage Farmers’ Market. But I want to buy a half-hog from him, so I practice restraint about our differences, and connect with him on common ground.
One of the rallying cries of the locavore movement is, “Know your farmer.” I will probably keep looking for a reliable source of local eggs, but not because the farmer at Tranquility Heights has a different perspective. I have questions for her. I want to know how she raises her chickens, and what she thinks about organic feed, and what breed of chickens she raises. I want to know her, and be known by her. I want us to learn to trust each other, and we can’t do that as long as our relationship is mediated by the refrigerated section at Natural Pantry.