Simply in Season

News and reflections on all that's good about local food
from the co-author of Simply in Season,
a World Community Cookbook in the spirit of More-with-Less

Monday, May 01, 2006


Three cheers and bon appetit to the Locavores: a San Francisco-based group of folks who have pledged to eat foods grown within a 100-mile radius of their home for the month of May. ("Locavores": "local eaters," in the linguistic style of herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores.) In 2005 the group chose August; they select a different month each year in order to experience “going local” when different foods are in season.

Anyone is welcome to join this culinary adventure: the Locavore community already includes folks from at least 17 states and four additional countries.

It’s fun to scan the list of Locavore participants just to see the range of goals these folks are setting for themselves. Some are going whole hog, so to speak, with vows to seek out even local salt, baking powder and spices; one person says even his dog is going to go local. Others begin more modestly with pledges to eat one local meal per day or to include at least one local food item per week in evening meals.

Several folks aren’t quite ready to give up coffee, chocolate or bananas. And others comment that they already buy many local fruits and vegetables but they’re pushing themselves this month to seek out local sources of a new food, such as grains, meats, or dairy products.

The Locavores exemplify one of the things I find most encouraging about this journey with food choices: it’s not an all-or-nothing deal. We all make food choices constantly, and therefore there’s always another opportunity to make choices that feel good to us. Anyone can take steps down the local food path; it’s not a lifestyle available only to purists.

Maybe we’ll choose good foods today and not so good ones tomorrow, but every time we choose products that are good for our local and global neighbors as well as our own and environmental health, we benefit.

How might you want to challenge yourself to eat more locally this month?

Depending on the situation I might quibble with the order of priorities when choosing foods to buy, but in general I like this version of the Locavore’s pledge:

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.

More on Locavores:
Tips for the May 2006 Eat Local Challenge
Opinion piece, “Think Globally, Eat Locally”
Valley Food & Farm, locavores in Vermont


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