Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Locavore- What is that really?

For the 11th day of the A to Z Challenge I'm talking about eating Local or what we call being a "Locavore". Many of us are Herbivores or Omnivores but what really defines a Locavore?

The official definition is a person who primarily eats foods only grown with in a certain radius of their location, the area can be larger or smaller depending on the availability of farms. The general area would fall between 100 and 250 miles of a consumer.

I consider anyone who grows even a small portion of their own foods, or seasonally buys from a farmers market to be a localvore. Groups of people are moving this direction for heath benefits, environmental benefits and to support their local economy. Some people do it just because they enjoy knowing their local farmer and seeing how their food is grown.

The health benefits of growing your own food is vast, you regulate the amount of fertilizers, pesticides and processing that goes into your food. Don't want all that extra salt, BPA or concerns about what else might be going into your foods, buy local and process it yourself. It doesn't have to be large scale or take tons of time to can, freeze or dehydrate and you'll reap the benefits when those products are out of season.

The environmental benefit for eating locally is that foods are often fresher than what you would find on your supermarket shelf. They won't have been coated with chemicals to extend the shelf life. Also the environmental impact of traveling shorter distances to reach the consumer is less, which helps reduce green house gases and conserves fuel. Demand for fuel goes down and prices for everything falls.

When you buy local, that money stays in your community, There are more jobs created with this money, more options for buying are created and the whole cycle continues.

We were once a country that was fed communities. We created Victory Gardens during the war to help ourselves and our neighbors, I'm from the South and yes we have the agricultural history, but the draw to grow your own food has dropped. I'm always surprised at how many people are so unconnected with their food that they can't recognize certain vegetables on sight or  know how they grow. Recently I took a trip with my girl scouts and a few other troop to a local dairy farm and one of the comments of a parent threw me for a loop. They wanted to know why the cow looked like it was dragging it's stomach. We all immediately became concerned, only to have the cow pointed out. We then realized she was talking about the utters, she had no idea that is where milk comes from.  I worry with so much industrial farming that we have moved too far away from how our food is created, that we lose sight of why gardening and farming are so important to us as a society. We can't ensure food safety if we are not involved in it's production!

How can you be a localvore if you don't have the options to grow your own food? Herbs can be grown in window sills, try container gardening or check out Local Harvest and find a Farmers Market, CSA or farm in your area. Become a bigger part of your food chain and learn about production, preserving and food safety. It's in our own best interests!

Check back tomorrow and I'll be talking about a little lighter subject.. M is for Microgreens!
Thanks for stopping by...