Eating Local: Locavore or Loco-vore?

Eating Local - Brussels Sprouts StalkAre you a locavore? Do you prefer eating locally grown food? According to the dictionary, a locavore is “someone whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.” Like anything else related to food in the twenty-first century, some people take this to extreme and only eat local. I’m thinking they might actually be “locovores.” 😉

I don’t call myself a locavore, though I’m close. I tend to eat local for the most part, but it is not an obsession for me. Still, I think the concept of eating local is important to consider.

Why Does Eating Local Matter?

When you eat locally grown food, particularly vegetables, you’re eating in season. It matters because for most of the time humans have been on the planet, that is how they ate. Prior to 1850, the only food available was what was produced locally. There was no means of transportation that allowed for the importing of foods from other areas. And since there was no refrigeration or freezing available, foods were either fresh or had been preserved naturally. Regional food diets, therefore, varied with the climate of the region. Hence, prior to 1850, people ate locally and organically by default.

The term ‘locavore’ may have been coined by Jessica Prentice in 2005, but the concept is as old as humanity. The industrial and technological advances of the last 168 years have enabled people to eat non-locally.

Eating Local - Brussels Sprouts Flower
This is the flower from a Brussels Sprouts stalk.

When Eating Local Was The Only Option

It all goes back to the design of our world with its varied climates and regions. We can argue about who or what created that design, but that doesn’t change its existence. Each region is its own ecosystem. A microcosm in which certain plants and animals thrive because of the climate and the landscape. They exist in a complex symbiotic relationship. Traditionally, the people in a region consumed plants and animals that were available in that region.

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It’s true that they had no choice. But I believe it goes deeper than that. I believe that the seasonal variations in foods available fit with the seasonal changes. Man is the only species that, in our modern world, has the ability and the free will to eat foods from other regions.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t call myself a locavore. For the most part, I do eat locally grown vegetables. It’s a choice I have made, enabled by the many farmers and farmers markets in our area. And the fact that I live in South Texas where farms can grow crops year-round.

Have you considered the idea of eating local? Or do you prefer to shop the grocery store?

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