J500 Media and the Environment

Oh, to be a locavore by mackenzies09
February 4, 2009, 7:33 pm
Filed under: Food + Health, Local Events + Action | Tags: , , ,

The movement to eat locally grown and produced goods is a hot topic at the moment. People like the idea of eating fresh food, supporting local farmers and reducing the impact from shipping goods. What’s not to like?

The Merc defines local goods as anything produced within 200 miles of the store. Miles traveled are labeled on their products, making it easy for consumers to identify them. The four women who coined the term locavore

Baby bison from the Lone Star Lake Bison Ranch in Overbrook, Ks

Baby bison from the Lone Star Lake Bison Ranch in Overbrook, Ks

allow for a 100 mile radius.  But what about the typical big box or local chain?

The lack of regulation on the word local is a problem. Anyone with their own murky definition can slap the word local on an item and watch as it flies off the shelves. If a bigrig trucks-in something from the next state over, or two states over, is that local? I think most people would say no. But your grocery store might love the sound of that.

The National Resources Defense Council found that the average American dinner is comprised of ingredients from about five countries other than the United States. Foreign countries, were not talking Colorado here. These goods are coming on ships, trucks and planes. NRDC reports produce flown into California in 2005, released the same amount of carbon dioxide as 12,000 cars on the road. To California! They produce over 350 agricultural products in state. Think about what crosses over the Kansas border.

While it’s great that people want to be locavores, one has to ask herself, what is my definition of local?


photo courtesy of myself, on the Kaw Valley Farm Tour

3 Comments so far
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I’m giving this question a lot of thought right now. We live in the upper region of zone 5 in the Midwestern US. For us, eating local would mean saying goodbye to pineapples, sugar, bananas, coconuts, and oranges – oh and most fish too. This even if we decided that “local” to us means a 300 mile radius.

But – I am very proud of our little local grocer. They have placed stickers on all the fresh fruit and vegetable price signs to tell what country each one comes from. It’s nice to be able to make a more informed decision about the items I buy during the off season.

This summer and fall I’ll be canning like mad to try to keep us as local as possible!

Comment by BucolicAmbition

I just heard a report on NPR about the murky definition of organic. It seems a lot of companies just define it how they want to… same issue.

Comment by brennad87

There are some foods I just couldn’t give up, pineapple being one of them. Bananas, sugar, coconuts, oranges and fish are a few more! Canning is great, albeit time consuming. As a baby I refused to eat anything other than my grandmother’s homemade apple sauce. She even grew her own apples.

Comment by mackenzies09

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