Locavores are folks who only eat food that is locally produced and sold. It's an act of resistance to the commercialization of food production and a commitment to support local economies and farmers.

The idea of eating local was popularized by the ecologist Gary Paul Nabham in the early 2000s. Organized awareness campaigns in Canada and the United States brought the idea of the "100 mile diet" (only eating food produced within 100 miles) to kitchen tables worldwide.


What's local

Though the 100 mile diet is a general rule, there is no single definition of what's considered "local." There is defiantly an ideal of local food that's not always attainable - monoculture is still a popular method of farming even if it isn't the most environmentally sound. But there are certain aspects that do define local food for activists. They include, but aren't limited to being:

Geographically close (food from home gardens, community gardens or farmers in 100 mile radius, food that hasn't been transported more than 100 miles)

Beneficial to local economies (food is bought by independent store owners, butchers or directly from farmers rather than chain grocers or large commercial stores)

More ethical (farmers slaughter animals humanely, workers are paid well and the food is sold at a fair price that reflects this)

Community and education oriented (people can see where their food comes from, actively participate in their consumption and organize with others)

Sustainable (food is produced without genetic modification, traditional practices are embraced, environmentally sound processes are used)


Ways to do it

Locavores do face many challenges, especially in rough Canadian winters. Still, there are ways to maintain a local diet. Eating seasonally is important. Find out what can survive the colder temperatures in your area: beets, potatoes and other root vegetables can be tasty staples.

For folks who don't have a lot of time to head to farmer's markets or a lot of disposable income, getting a local good food box is a great option. It's a program that arranges monthly pick up of a box full local fruits and vegetables at an affordable price. Most Canadians cities host the program.

Getting active in community gardens, urban agriculture and trading food (ie you have too many tomatoes, trade with a neighbour who has too many peppers) are great ways to maintain a locavore diet. Local food certification is also available for grocers and restaurants, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area through Local Food Plus.

Many restaurants are also jumping on the local bandwagon and serving up seasonal delicacies. These are often highlighted, but don't be afraid to ask where meat, produce and wines come from.


Locavore blog

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