The words of the year for 2007 have been determined. The Oxford American Dictionary picks “locavore” (noun) • one who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles.
The term “locavore” was coined two years ago in San Francisco by a group whose official membership has since grown to include participants all over the world, including several in Georgia. The group exchanges tips and celebrates their respective foodsheds (path from supplier to table and everything in between).
While trying to zero in on my foodshed, I learned that the modern U.S. foodshed includes the whole world, and found a lot of other interesting information as well as a link to an online community food store at www.foodroutes.org. Looking at the agricultural system in terms of the origins and pathways of food items, it seems feasible to focus them at the local level.
But a couple of comments about the Oxford dictionary word choice reflect cynicism and frustration with the “do-good fad” of locavoreing. One man writes:
“I once tried being a locavore, researching local sources online, going to farmers’ markets and soforth. But what I found is that the electricity I used doing my research, and the gasoline I burned driving to the markets, probably increased my carbon footprint tenfold for the specific task of grocery shopping. I think the concept of being a locavore is an ironic fallacy …”
Here I am, all excited and ready to aim high. I have studied the guidelines:
If not locally produced, then organic.
If not organic, then family farm.
If not family farm, then local business.
If not local business, then terroir (i.e. Parmesan from Parma)
And, taking advice from the experts who started the 100-mile diet, I am starting small. One night, one meal. Make it New Year’s Eve. The menu includes a few pounds of local shrimp easily obtainable 2 miles from home. I’ll also cook up some turnips and winter greens I retrieved from an organic farmer 28.3 miles away near the Marlow area of South Effingham County. For a modified lowcountry boil I’ll get some sausage from Hinson’s Georgia Market in Rincon (23.2 miles). At that same store I would like to pick up some Thomasville cheese (234 miles) and corn meal from Helen (335 miles) for muffins, but they come from too far away. I will take the wine from Statesboro (55 miles) and go home.
Maybe an in-state diet would be more diverse but this menu doesn’t look half bad … A few more days until New Year’s and I’d like to add some more items, appetizers mostly. But now here I am, calculating the gas mileage and anxious to shut down the computer.
Photo credit: Roland via Flickr.