I recently had a conversation with someone who sparked my interest in the term “locavore.” The word “locavore” was the word of the year for 2007 in the Oxford American Dictionary and was the creation of Jessica Prentice of the San Francisco Bay Area. The locavore movement is a movement in the United States and elsewhere that developed as interest in sustainability and eco-consciousness became more prevalent. “Locavores” are people who pay attention to where their food comes from and commit to eating local food as much as possible. Local is generally considered to be within a 100 mile radius of where you live. The reason for eating local ranges from the desire to reduce the use of fossil fuels (thereby releasing less carbon dioxide into the air and preventing greater global warming) to the desire of knowing what is in the food being consumed and the ethics of how food was raised or produced.
Farmers markets across the country play a significant role in efforts to eat what is local. Some cities have the luxury of having a farmer’s market that are open year round. In fact, just this year the local Columbia Farmers Market, which will have its last Saturday on November 20, will have a “winter” farmers market that starts this Saturday, November 6, at Rockbridge Christian Church from 10am to 2pm. The local farmers have seen the interest in Columbia growing and will be selling products throughout the winter. The selection will be less than there is during the summer, but it interesting to see what they have to offer. For more information about the Columbia Farmers Market go to http://www.columbiafarmersmarket.org/. If you don’t live in Columbia, just Google “Farmers Market” along with the name of your city and you will find the markets in your area.
You don’t have to call yourself a “locavore” to try to live according to some of their philosophies. I certainly do my best to eat local and eat what is in season so that the quality of my food is more under my control and I am helping to preserve the environment. Some other strategies that you might consider using to eat local include preserving your own food. My mother used to preserve all summer long in preparation for the winter and that way we ate from our garden all year long. I preserved some ginger pear jam last year (with my mother’s help, of course) and it was quite delicious. It was easier than I thought and is a skill that you might want to develop. However, on a regular basis the idea of preserving is a bit daunting to me due to the time and planning involved. My solution is to take advantage of the local stores and restaurants that do their best to sell and make food that is local and seasonal. Supporting these establishments with your dollars helps make local, seasonal food more available and affordable.
The thing to remember is to do the best you can. This is not necessarily an all-or-nothing venture. Every small step you take toward eating local helps protect your family’s health, supports small farmers continue to offer healthy options, and helps the environment.
To find out more reasons to eat local, go to the Eat Local Challenge blogsite athttp://www.lifebeginsat30.com/elc/2006/04/10_reasons_to_e.html.