Earth Week Field Guide: The Locavore

This week, we’re saying, “Thank you, Earth, for giving us life, and a home, and stuff,” by celebrating folks trying hard to save the planet. Yesterday, we looked at freegans, people who dig their food out of the trash. Today, let’s learn about Locavores, who live by the mantra: “Think globally, eat Locally.” Not to mention deliciously.

  • Friends o’ Farmers. Locavores pay close attention to where their food comes from and are committed to eating what’s grown as close to their cribs as possible. If it’s from their backyard, that’s great; there’s nothing like a tomato picked off the vine. But locavores will settle for produce that comes from within a 100 to 250 mile radius of their home. Locavores shop at the farmer’s market and subscribe to “community-sponsored agriculture orgs” (a.k.a. CSAs, more on ‘em later), which means they only eat what’s available seasonally. [PBS] The growth of the locavore movement has led to a revival of small farms across the U.S. Their number has risen by 20 percent since 2002. [Business Week]
  • Smaller Footprint. Because their food isn’t flown in from South America or Australia, locavores reduce their carbon footprint. Plus, they help preserve farmland and green spaces close to home. It’s not enough to go organic. According to a recent study, the amount of gas used for organic produce to reach your plate causes so much environmental havoc that it cancels out the benefit of buying organic in the first place. []
  • The Locavore Bible. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle can be found on almost any locavore’s bookshelf. The 2007 bestseller by Barbara Kingsolver chronicles her family’s year of eating locally—growing as much as they could and procuring the rest from local farms. Famous locavore chefs include Mario Batali, Dan Barber, and Alice Waters. The word “locavore” was the Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2007. []

Ready to Convert? Here are three ideas:

  • Find your local farmers market, or visit a nearby farm.
  • Download the “Locavore” app for your iPhone, which will tell you where to get fresh local produce in your area. [Enjoymentland]
  • Join a CSA. For a couple of hundred dollars a year, you can have fresh, seasonal produce delivered to your home every week. Find one near you at Local Harvest.