Be a Locavore!
If you’re wrinkling your brow trying to remember where you’ve heard this word, this tidbit might help: Locavore is the 2007 Word of the Year in Oxford American Dictionary. According to the official definition:
a locavore is “a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.” Many people all around the world are either natural locavores by culture, need and tradition, or are locavores by choice.
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.
Eating locally produced food reduces one’s carbon footprint by taking into consideration the “food miles” that imported food products run up. Food miles are the distance and time it takes for a food product to get to the store from its source. In addition, buying local food products holds an incentive for local farmers to grow produce in season. This takes off some pressure to grow out-of-season fruits and vegetables in greenhouses which uses up a lot of energy. Eating locally also supports local farmers and the community economy. In a way, it is giving back to the community as well. It may depend on personal taste, but many swear that local foods taste better. Taking food miles and preservatives out of the equation and adding in-season produce, this might be a valid claim. The fact that local produce is sold 24 hours after harvest might also account for the taste and freshness.
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.
If you’ve decided to become a locavore yourself, you could go with any of theses three options:
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, go ahead!
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.
Locavores even have their own app for convenience and encouragement (it’s free). Get it at GetLocavore.com and start your adventure as a locavore!
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