Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Are you a Locavore?

Remember back in school when you learned about carnivores, omnivores and herbivores? As anyone who has ever eaten free samples in a grocery store can tell you, humans are opportunistic omnivores.

So what is a locavore? A locavore is someone who tries to eat foods that were produced in their local area.  I imagine this would include people who hunt and fish near their homes, too.

Why is this interesting and maybe important? Because transporting food makes it more expensive.  According to one article I read, food in the USA travels on average 1,500 miles before reaching the consumer.  All this trucking burns a lot of fuel and adds to our pollution problems. 

However, an area farmer doesn’t drive very far to the local farmers’ market, and their produce will probably be fresher because it ripens on the vine or tree rather than inside a warehouse or truck.  And eating fish fresh from the ocean is so much better tasting than frozen fish.  Buying from area farmers and fishermen helps support your neighbors and often keeps traditional family businesses afloat.

So this weekend try to visit a local farmers’ market or seafood market.  Or think about a few foods you normally buy at a chain store that you could easily buy locally.  You could also ask your local chain store if they buy local produce. 

One other thing to consider is the old DIY (do-it-yourself).  You don’t have to go buy 40 acres and a mule.  Rather, plant something in your backyard that you like to eat.  Whatever you grow will be fresh, pesticide free and will save buying it in the store. 

If you grow too much of one item, trade with a friend or neighbor.  And when winter comes, consider getting your grandmother’s recipes out and jarring your own preserves or jellies.  Or get your hunting or fishing license and get some fresh air, exercise, and something tasty for the grill all at the same time.

Now I’ve made myself hungry.

(Here's an article from PBS, and an Eat Local article.  The pic is of two pepper plants I'm growing.)

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