Introduction. This page could have been titled “Miscellaneous,” but since Locavore was chosen in 2007 as Oxford University Press’s “Word of the Year,” I thought I might encourage its usage by using it as a heading for all things local: food, farms, and farmer’s markets.
The term “locavore” was coined by Jessica Prentice and used as the title for a community project that challenged San Francisco citizen to eat food grown within 100 miles of the area. Locavore, which means to eat foods grown or produced locally, is a combination of the Latin locus (place) and vorare (to eat). Prentence commented that she “liked the literal meaning of locavore . . . ‘one who swallow (or devours!( the place.'”
Several writers have chronicled their struggles to eat as locavores, including Barbara Kingsolver in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She began her one year of local eating in response to the fact that “the average food item on a U.S. grocery shelf has traveled farther than most families go on their annual vacations.” Eating foods located within a 100 mile radius even in rural Caswell County would be daunting (although a boon for the local economy and environment). How would we survive without pineapple or tomatoes in winter?
The reason I keep returning to this topic is not because I think I could eat as a locavore all the time but because it makes me cognizant of the globalization of our food system and reminds me to eat consciously and ask questions about the origins of the food I feed my family and guests.
So, the next time you drive to Walmart’s on Saturday morning to buy onions or a bag of frozen peas, hang a right and head to your local Farmer’s Market to purchase produce harvested that morning from a field a few miles away. Face it: Local tastes better; it’s better for you and for the farmer who lives down the road. It makes you part of the community.