Locavore: one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.
This word is so new that my Word Processor doesn’t recognize it.
The “Locavore” is a term used to describe a group of people that started out of San Francisco. According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, 2005 was the first time this word was used. By 2007, they had got a definition in a dictionary. I’m quite impressed to say the least.
The term “locavore” was coined by Jessica Prentice on World Environment Day in 2005. Together with three other North Carolinian women, they called themselves “the locavores” and started a month long challenge named “Celebrate Your Foodshed: Eat Locally.” Their project was inspired by Gary Paul’s (an ecologist) book in 2001, “Coming Home to Eat”. Their reasons and motivations are echoed by the increasing number of people who become locavores.
Our food now travels an average of 1,500 miles before ending up on our plates. Most food is grown in the breadbasket (located in states in the Midwest). It is shipped to distribution centers before it makes it way to the supermarket shelves. Because uncounted costs of this long distance journey (air pollution and global warming, the ecological costs of large scale monoculture, the loss of family farms and local community dollars) are not paid for at the checkout counter, many of us do not think about them at all.
What is eaten by the great majority of North Americans comes from a global everywhere, yet from nowhere that we know in particular. How many of our children even know what a chicken eats or how an onion grows? The distance from which our food comes represents our separation from the knowledge of how and by whom what we consume is produced, processed, and transported. And yet, the quality of a food is derived not merely from its genes and the greens that fed it, but from how it is prepared and cared for all the way until it reaches our mouths. If the production, processing, and transport of what we eat is destructive of the land and of human community — as it very often is — how can we understand the implications of our own participation in the global food system when those processes are located elsewhere and so are obscured from us? How can we act responsibly and effectively for change if we do not understand how the food system works and our own role within it?
According to Farm Aid, every week 330 farmers leave their land and these farms are being replaced by giant, cooperation’s who never have to eat food because they live on a steady diet of our money and family farm’s demise.
Family Farms are important. Why? Firstly, unlike industrial agriculture operations, which pollute communities with chemical pesticides, noxious fumes, and excess manure, small family farmers live on or near their farms and strive to preserve the surrounding environment for future generations. In addition to providing jobs to local people, family farmers also help support small businesses by purchasing goods and services within their communities. Meanwhile, industrial agriculture operations employ as few workers as possible and typically purchase supplies, equipment, and building materials from outside the local community. Finally, family farmers benefit society by boosting democratic values in their communities through active civic participation, and by helping to preserve an essential connection between consumers, their food, and the land upon which this food is produced.
Locavores usually follow the 100 mile radius rule, though this may vary according to personal inclination and situation. Farmer’s markets, roadside stands, local food cooperative, community supported agricultural groups (CSA), and even supermarkets all offer locavores options for shopping locally. Find a CSA near you at Local Harvest.
Ultra Strict. The pure locavore, ultra stricts avoid all foods and ingredients not grown locally. Imported coffee, chocolates, and other mainstays are avoided, except when they are grown and produced in the area itself. Going ultra strict is not recommended for beginners, but if you have the commitment and willpower, then nothing can stop you.
Marco Polo. Imitating the great traveler, locavores who follow this style eat local foods and allow spices and dried foods. In Marco Polo’s case, the additional products were carried by sailors on ships he boarded. If you want a little elbow space from ultra strict, go Marco Polo.
Wild Card. The most accessible of locavore-ism, going wild card allows a few food products that the newly convert can’t live without. Sugar, chocolate, and other foods are allowed, but the main source of consumed foods remains the locally grown ones.
Now that you a little background you may now be wondering, ‘so how does one become a locavore?’
This group is all about encouraging you to do the most you can. You can sign up for the mailing list or learn more information on what practices locavores participate in http://www.locavores.com/home.php