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What is a Locavore?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2016
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Locavores are people who choose to consume only foods that are grown with a specified local area. The idea behind this approach is twofold. First, the locavore chooses to support local businesses by purchasing produce and meats that are grown and processed in a geographical region that the individual considers to be local. A second consideration often involves the idea that food grown locally will be fresher and therefore more nutritious than food shipped in from distant locations.

Eating locally presents several distinct challenges for the locavore. One important consideration is defining what constitutes a local growing area. For some, the local food area may be limited to a single community, such as a county or parish. Others may consider a local eating area to encompass an entire state of nation. Depending on the range of foods that are cultivated and prepared within that geographical designation, the locavore may have an easy time consuming a balanced diet, or experience a great deal of trouble.

Another locavore challenge has to do with variety. Even if the defined local eating area contains facilities that produce a credible range of meats, vegetables, grains, fruits, and dairy products, there is a good chance that some favorite foods will not be available. For example, if bananas are not grown within the designated local eating area, any dish that includes bananas will be off limits to the locavore.

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The locavore may also experience issues from his or her peers. Many people are used to purchasing any food they enjoy, and are often are not concerned with where the food is actually produced. An individual that chooses to purchase foods based on the fact they are grown locally may be presented with arguments regarding the price or quality of the food, or the limited selections available. This lifestyle choice may also have some impact on social life as well, if the locavore refuses to consume food prepared by a host because it is not locally grown.

In spite of the challenges, locavores are often able to manage very well. Produce can be purchased at local farmer’s markets. A portion of the purchases can be blanched and frozen for later use, or prepared in a pressure cooker and sealed in glass jars for consumption in off-season months. Fish native to the area along with free range chickens help to provide alternatives to prepared meats. Even local sources of corn and wheat may provide the raw materials to create meal and flour for the preparation of breads. Choosing a locavore lifestyle often means employing creativity to make the best use of local resources. As the local eating movement continues to gain momentum, more people are likely to adopt all or part of the strategies developed by locavores.

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