But I don't like guilt. I mean, I don't like it for long. A tiny bit of guilt incites action, so the initial feeling has a purpose (and I appreciate anything with a purpose). But I don't allow myself to continue with an action that makes me feel guilty. Which is why I just expanded my garden to 50 x 50, almost double what it was last year, and 10 feet bigger in each direction than what I originally planned. I'm sure that it will be a LOT of work, and I will probably cuss a lot while I'm doing it and wonder if it's worth it (but thanks to Mother Earth News it will be a LOT less work... seriously, if you're intimidated by the amount of work it would take to start a new garden, you HAVE to check out this link...). And that is also why I have resolved to supplement my summer produce with the farmer's market. I did this last summer, but I was unorganized and unfocused so I didn't do it consistently. I bought some extra cukes for pickles, banana peppers and tomatoes to can, and green beans to freeze, but that's it. This summer I plan to plant more beans, peppers, tomatoes, and cukes than I could possibly put up (hopefully...). That way I can focus my resources at the farmers market on things I don't grow much of or at all like broccoli (my utter failure at growing broccoli last year convinced me to take a year off) and other brassicas as well as maple syrup and honey.
I have also resolved to buy more from the co-op. Recently I mentioned that they almost closed, and that scare was enough to make me realize that if I want the benefits of having them, I need to make sure I give them as much of my business as possible. And there are many things I should be buying from them for other reasons- they sell fresh nut butters, which I need to start using instead of the processed peanut butter I've been buying, non-homogenized milk, and local products.
So by next fall my proportion of responsibly and locally raised should be dramatically higher than it is now, and I feel pretty good about that. I will have beef and pork in my freezer from my parents and in-laws, chicken from my own flock, eggs from my laying chickens, produce from my garden and the farmer's market and local CSA, and, hopefully, grains from a local farmer (I vaguely remember a stall at one of the farmer's market that sold grain, but I never asked about amounts or pricing). The only staple that leaves out is dairy. It is my goal to find a local farmer with excess pastured milk that I can buy.
My point is that it's a process. I am very near to my goal, but it has taken three years to get even this far. And I am lucky to live where I live and have the space and resources available to me (as well as living in an area where local products are highly valued- this isn't the case in many areas, even other rural areas of the midwest). But everyone, regardless of location or resources, can do more to support local agriculture and businesses.