“Local” is a relative concept for Anabelle Harari ’11. Her post-grad life has consisted of border crossing, backpacking, and blogging. Local Belle, her blog and passion project, is a place of worship for local food. She’s bounced from Kathmandu to Kerala, roaming around Nepal and India in search of the best local food. At the moment, she blogs from Jerusalem and interviews fellow food bloggers, many of whom get their ingredients from the city’s shuk—Machane Yehuda market.
Though her address has varied, Harari’s devotion to food hasn’t wavered. One week, her blog posts document a special Shabbat meal, complete with beetroot soup and couscous. The next, she pops up at a pomegranate winery in the ancient northern Israeli city Tzfat. In past posts, dishes such as tabbouleh with quinoa, fig-ricotta scones, and malabi, a Middle-Eastern pudding, have been on the menu.
Though her blog can simply be read as a leisure blog, Harari has a mission. “I believe that whole, real, healthy, nutritious food is powerful in changing people’s lives,” she explains. She first witnessed this power through the Food Justice Society at Mount Holyoke. As a community-based-learning fellow, Harari worked with Gardening the Community, an urban agriculture organization in Springfield. She was also inspired by the farms surrounding South Hadley and the “eat local food” mantra often echoing through the Valley.
With her blog, Harari continues what she started in college: convincing readers that local, organic food improves the environment, the economy, and health. She swears by food’s healing power, but her interviews, meal recaps, and kitchen visits best demonstrate the bonding power of food. From a family in Tzfat that has been making cheese for seven generations to Prema, an Indian woman who makes homemade peanut butter, Harari is grateful for everyone who shares her passion. “Anywhere I’ve traveled, people can connect over good food,” she says.
—By Olivia Lammel ’14
Harari on Twitter: @thelocalbelle; Harari on Facebook: Local Belle