Me!

About

Local:

The principle that a given entity belongs or relates to a particular area; the connection to food, seasons and community. Becoming more connected with the local food system allows one to think about what they eat and where it comes from. It strengthens community and keeps money circulated in the local economy. Local food is about re-connection to the land and to one self. 

Belle:

Of the most beautiful. Beauty is that which pleases the senses. For me, beauty is found in the simplicity of eating and sharing nourishing food, getting dirt under my nails + connecting to the earth, creating something with my hands, exploring new lands, and trying new things. It is the pleasure of all senses, of living a full life surrounded by the people, places, sights, smells, and tastes that you love.

About Belle:

about local belle

I started this blog in 2011 after graduating from college (Moho for life!), and on the cusp of embarking on a two year journey traveling throughout Nepal, India and Israel. I wanted to write about the food I was experiencing and and the connections made to local traditions and cultures that I was warmly welcomed into. Since then, the blog has evolved many times. As I continue to grow, so too does this space for reflection and connection. 

I believe in the power of food to connect people, whether it’s around the dinner table, your favorite holiday meal, a lazy brunch with friends, or late night treats. When you eat good food, that is, food that you can feel good about, there is a certain power and beauty in it. 

For me, good food is real food. Food that is whole, nourishing, and easily found in nature. Real food is food where all the ingredients can be pronounced, is free of chemicals and is utterly fresh and delicious. It is food as Michael Pollan says “your great-grandmother would recognize.” I focus on local food because it connects me to time, space, seasons, and people. And it is the easiest way to ensure you’re eating the freshest food possible. 

I try to eat local and organic food whenever possible, because I believe I can vote with my fork- I can choose to support food that is grown in a way the promotes biodiversity and soil fertility. I can choose connection to the land, to farmers, to people, to community. I am inspired everyday by the power of plants and the remarkable potential every single seed that is sown. 

I care so much about food (some would say too much) because it is literally what connects every single one of us. Food is a story, it is your family heritage, or your culture. It is your grandmother’s secret recipe, it is the first harvest, and the last rain. Food is your annual block party, your CSA, your comfort and at times, your agony. It is also often political, far-removed, fast and faceless. 

I love food because it continues to inspire and surprise me. With every new farm, garden, recipe and gathering, I’m here to share my story with you. I hope to share my passion with you and inspire you in the kitchen, in the garden and in your life. Not just how to eat, but how to feel connected to an amazing agricultural tradition that is deep inside of each of us. When we simplify, when we can connect to local farmers, when we practice the art of cooking, and when we value what we put into our bodies everyday, we can begin to feel good and do good, and shift things for the better.

My goal for this blog is to inspire you to cook something delicious, nutritious and gather-worthy. I dare you to join me in this quest of eating, celebrating and cherishing our local food traditions.  

FAQ:

Where is local for you now?

As of September 2013, my locality is in Encinitas, California, just north of San Diego. I am part of a 15 month food justice fellowship, where I work on state-level public policy related to food and hunger issues, I am a garden design consultant and create meaningful programming around food, health and the environment. It’s basically a dream job.

 What were you doing in Nepal and India?

I participated on a four month volunteer program for Israelis, called Tevel b’Tzedek (meaning the Earth in Justice). I lived in an urban slum in Kathmandu and volunteered at a local school and taught basic health and nutrition to a group of women. I absolutely loved Nepal, so if you have any questions about the program or my time there, please feel free to contact me! I then traveled for three months throughout India and spent some time with my boyfriend living in Lucknow. I traveled throughout Rajasthan, Bihar, Darjeeling, Mumbia, Goa and Kerala.

Do you always eat local + organic?

As my yoga teacher says: “it’s a practice, not a perfect.” I don’t beat myself up about not being 100% local and organic, but I try my very best. I want to encourage others to try and incorporate it into their lives, but nothing is perfect- don’t try to live up to a standard that is impossible. Instead, continue your practice of conscious buying and eating and one day, we’ll all get there together.

What is your background?

My mom is Romanian, my dad is Tunisian and I was born in Israel.

What did you study in college? Are you a nutritionist?

I studies International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies at Mount Holyoke College. I got interested in food access issues after taking a community development class and working at a youth urban agriculture organization in Springfield, Massachusetts. I’m not a nutritionist. I am applying to graduate school for a degree in public health for Fall 2015 – wish me luck! 

If you want to get in touch with questions, comments or just chat about local + organic food, connect with me on twitter, instagram or facebook