Becoming Locavores, One Locally Grown Meal at a Time

February 05, 2012
Suzanne Chun
Aliso Viejo Patch


Kimberly Leeds wants her neighbors to feel more connected to one another.

“Connections create resilience,” said Leeds, an Aliso Viejo resident. “We’re going to have to re-evaluate how we live our lives. When oil gets really expensive, food costs will rise. We are not sustainable at this point.”

In September 2011, Leeds started holding potlucks to raise awareness about “creating community through resilience.” With a steering committee of nine members, she introduced the Transition Movement to Aliso Viejo.

This movement, which is taking place in more than 1,000 communities worldwide, involves transitioning toward lower energy consumption due to climate change and decreasing supplies of fossil fuels.

“It’s about evaluating where our food comes from,” Leeds said, “and learning to make better choices.”

To help residents become locavores, people who eat food that is grown locally, members of Transition Aliso Viejo are helping each other install backyard gardens. Under the guidance of Karen Wilson, a master gardener with the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, a workgroup of 10 Transition members performs the labor for each garden.

Leeds admits that each homeowner can’t grow everything they need, so she is encouraging them to share or trade what they grow with their neighbors.

“We can become more inter-connected,” said Leeds, who stresses that Transition is not a political movement. “Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, it’s about making it so you and your family can feed yourself and be able to subsist.”

Growing up in Laguna Beach, Leeds’ first job was at The Stand, a natural foods restaurant on Thalia Street. It was there that she first started to question where her food was coming from.

While living in Peru as an exchange student and traveling throughout Europe after college, Leeds said she “saw the relationship between people and the land.”

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