This first week of attempting live under my PSP goal of only eating local, sustainable, and seasonal food along with not eating red meat has been challenging.  Over the past week, I decided to get my food from Market of Choice and Trader Joe’s here in Corvallis, and I was able to spend surprisingly less money than I initially thought I would.  It was surprisingly economical to pay for more expensive food, because I find it harder to purchase products without thinking about each item for a while to make sure that I need it.  In making these decisions I also found some alternatives that will be useful for me in the future in both saving money and sustaining the environment, culture, and economy.   One of the main challenges that I had were the time it took to critically think about each product and decipher the labeling on the packaging to make sure I was buying a local, sustainable, and seasonal product.  The best way I found to make sure of this was to if they specifically stated that the product came from Oregon rather than somewhere else in the world.  I reluctantly bought many products from California, because there was a lack of other choices for a product that I required.  On the other hand, at least I have been thinking about each of the products and making overall better choices.

Is it really fresh and local?

One of my favorite meals from the first week of working through my PSP was handmade spaghettini and spicy chicken sausage with fresh, no rBST Parmesan, kalamata olives, and organic tomato sauce, with a side of garlic bread I made with my own spread.  The spaghettini, while being the most expensive item at five dollars for a pound, was also the most delicious as it was handmade fresh locally in Oregon.  With a cook time of only 30 seconds, it was also the easiest to prepare for the meal.  The fresh spicy chicken sausage was probably the most time consuming part of the meal, as I spent around 50 minutes cooking the sausage using a method of boiling and searing the sausage to perfection.  This sausage was sliced and then added to two jars of Trader Joe’s organic marinara sauce along with a jar of hand chopped kalamata olives, and simmered over low to medium heat.  Using a garlic spread mixed with my own Irish butter, I sliced open some French bread and spread the garlic butter evenly on both sides of the bread, wrapped it in foil, and put the bread in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for ten minutes.  During this time, I boiled a large pot of water with a pinch of salt, and added the spaghettini until it completely separated in the pot, then threw the whole pot into a strainer.  Finally, I threw all of the spaghettini and my chicken sausage marinara into a final serving bowl.  The final product gave me a total of 4-6 large meals, and is something I am highly considering doing in the future given I have the time.

My spaghetti looked much better than this 🙂

As far as cultural sustainability, my PSP is proving to play a valuable role.   The documentary Food Inc. points out that illegal immigrants often work in factory farms, and they are often deported without any fault given to the companies (Kenner).  Pasta plus, who handmade the pasta that I ate in the recipe I detailed above, is a local Oregon company with a diverse local staff.  There are no secrets within the walls of their quaint little shop in Eugene, OR, which is shown in detail on the YouTube video posted on this blog.  Locally owned shops like this help spread diversity and equality on a small scale in how the workers are treated, and will hopefully be a big influence on other small businesses to create such welcoming environments.   With Pasta Plus in Eugene, many other businesses could follow in creating food and other products that are locally and environmentally sustainable, and have a great model to be based on.  One problem that my PSP project has had trouble with is figuring out what is both a local and sustainable purchase.  Even if a product states that it is local, that does not necessarily mean that the treatment of workers and animals is just, and often you will have to ask one of the employees on buying advice (Grace).  I had this issue when buying the spicy Italian chicken, as the product did say local but with no other information.   When I asked the worker about the diet of the chicken she said that the chicken was vegetarian fed.  I am sure that I could have gone into more depth but it is very challenging to get the information you want without feeling like you are prodding too much.   This is definitely a skill I will have to work on for the future.

(You can find the video of Pasta Plus in Eugene, OR here:

Next week I am planning to go to the farmers market to buy the majority of my food.  The local farmers selling their produce and other food related products will hopefully support more local, sustainable, and seasonal purchases if enough people get involved.  I really am excited to see what it is like at the farmers market.  I would like to see if going to the market will not only be a reasonable decision in my purchasing needs, but how it compares to buying from a company such as Market of Choice which claims to support the local, sustainable, seasonal promise.  See you then!


Grace. (2009, January). Sustainable table. Retrieved from video

Kenner, R. (Director). 2008.  Food, Inc. (Motion picture).  United States: Magnolia

  1. julie says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Most people aren’t brave enough to ask questions about the source of their food. Good luck in your future efforts!

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