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What is a Localtarian?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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A localtarian is someone who tries to eat exclusively locally produced food, or as much locally produced food as is feasible. You may also hear a localtarian referred to as a locavore; both words are portmanteaus integrating the word “local” and a word which describes diet. The localtarian movement is especially big among people who are concerned about the environment, as many people believe that eating locally is more beneficial for the environment, especially when one sticks to seasonally available produce, avoiding produce grown in greenhouses or other artificial conditions.

The precise rules a localtarian lives by can vary considerably. As a general rule, people who eat a localtarian diet try to eat within an arbitrarily defined local foodshed, which is typically determined by radius. Many localtarians try to consider the topography of their community when thinking about what constitutes a local foodshed; for example, someone who lives on a coast would of course have access to a variety of seafood, but he or she might also want to include an inland valley as part of the local foodshed to ensure a balanced diet.

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There are a number of reasons to become a localtarian. Many people simply like to eat local because they feel that local food tends to be more fresh, and fresh food is of a generally better quality. The advantage of eating locally produced food is also that one gets to meet the producers of the food, establishing a connection to the community and supporting local commerce. Some people also enjoy interacting with the farmers, fishers, wildcrafters, and hunters who sell food.

Someone may also choose a localtarian diet for reasons of environmental ethics. Eating locally tends to use less resources, which can be better for the environment, and small, local food producers tend to care for the land they use more responsibly. Some localtarians further restrict their diet to include only organic or beyond-organic foods, in the belief that these methods of food production are better for the environment.

Localtarians can choose from a variety of resources when sourcing their food. Some have their own gardens, to supplement the food they get from the community, while others attend farmers' markets, join community supported agriculture (CSA) associations, or purchase directly from local food producers. In some communities, markets clearly label their locally produced foods for the benefits of localtarians, allowing them to shop in a store which offers both local and non-local food choices.

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