Being a Locavore

This is my new mission (well, not new, but something I’ve been moving towards relatively recently). What is a locavore, you ask? If you’ve read any Micheal Pollan (or similar) work, you’ve probably encountered this term before (Wiki credits Jessica Prentice for coining this term). Essentially, a locavore is anyone that makes an active effort to source local food for consumption. The closer the food is to your home, the better (less travel = fresher, more nutritious food with less of a carbon impact). Obviously, there are varying degrees of dedication to the locavore movement, but thanks to the All Knowing Internet, pretty much anyone can be a locavore year round with fairly minimal effort.

There seem to be so many benefits to being a locavore:

  • Environmental reasons: reduce carbon emission by eliminating shipping as well as voting with your wallet: you support the local farmers who farm sustainably – thereby promoting sustainable agriculture.
  • Health: fresher food (that hasn’t been in refrigeration for a long time like many supermarket foods) is more nutritious – vitamins, for example, degrade over time.
  • Taste: Anecdotal – local food tastes better because it’s fresher.
  • Economical: Infuse your local economy with money, know where and how your agricultural neighbors spend this money (as opposed to some Colombian banana farmers)
  • Animal welfare: Again, vote with your wallet. Are animals slaughtered humanely or do they suffer?

These are just a few of the benefits – if anyone reading wants to add anything, let me know in the comments or via Twitter and I will add it.

Cons? There aren’t many to speak of that I can think of (let me know if you disagree, and why) – other than perhaps a slightly increased cost (local operations tend to be smaller, and thus have higher costs as they cannot produce in bulk).

Personally, I’ve made a big step today: I placed my first order with Polyface Farm – the same one in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I recently rediscovered a local “buying club” that receives a shipment from Polyface every 5 weeks. This is my first attempt at getting local beef and poultry (FYI, I got eggs, steak, a broiler chicken, ground beef, and some sausage links). Local lamb/goat is available very close by (as well as venison) but I don’t know of many things nearby that have beef or poultry. So next Tuesday, I’ll be picking up my purchase from somewhere in Leesburg, VA (not too far) – I will let everyone knows how it is! Perhaps I’ll stop at a farm stand after picking up my order…!

Do you want to start becoming a locavore? It’s not that hard. I’ve found several farmers markets, farm stands, and locavore restaurants in my area simply by going to LocalHarvest – it has been an invaluable resource in my quest to begin eating local. Also, if you want more info about the Locavore movement, visit SustainableTable.com, another good resource. Have any other good resources? Let me know!

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