The Eldest Locavores

13 Sep

A post from Lea about the octagenarian locavores in her life. 

Last year I posted about the “Littlest Locavore,” my best-friends daughter.  This year, I seem to have the opposite thought in mind with my post the “Eldest Locavores.”

On Labor Day my mother and I paid a visit my great-aunt Laura who is 83 years old and was hosting my grandfather (87), my great-uncle Tony (85), and my great-aunt Alice (89) for an early supper.  After about thirty minutes of my Aunt Laura and my grandfather convincing the other two octagenarians that they have indeed met me before (at least twice a year for 30+ years), and repeating my age (32) six times we settled into a five course “light supper” my Aunt Laura (again aged 83) whipped up for us all.  Since I already had to explain my own existence, I was prepared to have to explain in detail what it is exactly that I do for work, and why it was that I was eating certain things (the local foods) and not others.  I showed the aging crew a video on my phone of my recent TV interview about the Locavore Challenge and showed them a write up in the paper earlier that week.  Somehow, the great-aunts and uncles were familiar with the concept of streaming the internet over a phone and even Facebook, but were still doubting my existence up until this supper. 

But after the fascination of my new-found existence was settled, my great-uncle, aunts and grandfather told my mother and I about their father’s (my great-grandfather’s) urban farm in the 20’s and 30’s in Rochester.  My grandfather was one of 11 first generation children of Portugese immigrants and they grew up in a very poor Rochester neighborhood.  My great-grandfather and his then young crew of urban farmers (grandfather and siblings) rode the bus each day armed with farming tools.  They had an approximately ½ acre plot at which they grew a myriad of vegetables (surely organic back then), and according to my aunt-nothing as delicious or enjoyable as a fruit (or anything sweet for that matter).  They ate mostly from their urban farm, the bounty of which they also carried home daily on the bus, and  the occasional chicken.  Despite their gaping memories of most of the early 21st century, my grandfather and his siblings have vivid memories of each and every vegetable they grew, where the plot was, and even went to the point of drawing my mother and I a crude farm plot map of how the plantings were laid out. 

I have always laid blame to the longevity and increased craziness of my older family members to just good ‘ole Portugese genes, but I am now beginning to think that maybe the early days of urban farming and a mostly plant based, local and organic diet are what keeps them living so long into their 80’s, even if the are a bit wacky-though I am pretty sure that really is genetic.

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One Response to “The Eldest Locavores”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Reach Out: Your #Locavore Friends are Waiting! | NY Locavore Challenge - September 8, 2013

    […] as some of our past blog posts show.  Decades ago, locavore eating was the only eating, and our grandparents (or great-great-grandparents) might not think of this challenge as anything but normal. […]

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