What are Local Foods?

You’ve probably started hearing more buzzwords like “local food”, “locally grown” and “locavore”. What is this “local” buzz all about?

The local foods movement has been a grass roots movement, literally and figuratively (I like to say “literally” for the cow farmers who grow grass, a cow’s natural diet). Partly inspired by the notion of peak oil, rising oil prices, health concerns over chemical use and vitamin loss, and a desire for more natural ways of human living that don’t involve constantly manipulating nature to fit our whims.

Do you need to give up such “spice of life” goodies like bananas, pineapples, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla? Clearly it would benefit no one to leave the tropical countries which produce these items without an economy. If you can afford it, search for “Fair-Trade Certified” items, harvested and sold with the farmers, laborers and citizens of those countries in mind. If you can’t afford it, don’t give yourself a guilt trip. You can’t do everything at once.

We have become accustomed to eating what we want when we want it. We eat substantial amounts of food out of our locale and out of season. Were our bodies designed to eat apples, grapes or bananas all year round? My best guess is no. That doesn’t mean I never eat an apple out of season; old habits die hard. But I continue in the garden, improving my soil so I can increase my own local harvest.

Start looking around your town and community for local farms and other producers using Slow Food USA, an organization preserving traditional regional foods, or the definitive Local Harvest where you can search your region in detail for farms, CSA’s, farmers markets, etc.

Happy local eating!


1 comment so far

  1. Mark Towridge on

    Living in Southern New Jersey, we have many local farms to get fresh produce during the spring, summer and fall. We have a farm in our town that has been in the same family for over 100 years. We enjoy the best corn, tomatoes and many other seasonal goodies. Off season I try to buy organic produce. This year was the first in many years we were able to have a large veggie garden. We used all organic gardening supplies and it was very plentiful. We were able to share our bounty with family and neighbors all summer!

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