Nah, it’s not really a word. But I liked the sound of it, and of course I invented a definition to keep it company: “The nature of one who eats food grown and processed within approximately one hundred miles of its domicile.” So most animals (the non-captive ones, anyway) are locavoristic.
Technically, I suppose some animals range naturally beyond a hundred-mile limit. The definition should probably not really be about distance, but rather about an area within which the animal in question can obtain food under its own steam. Of course, that would really limit humans today, since we go very few places under our own steam, and most of those trips are within a single building. I’m sticking with the generally-accepted 100-mile range for now.
Humans are an entirely different proposition for other reasons, too. Those who follow a “Western diet”, and that’s most of us these days, eat mostly chemically-“enhanced” edible food-like substances (again, thank you Michael Pollan for this painfully accurate phrase), nearly all of which travel thousands of miles from the point of production to find their way to someone’s table. And a shockingly large percentage of those foods contains some form of high fructose corn syrup. Not a nice thing for bodies.
Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, which you should read for several thousand good reasons, will give you an excellent explanation for how humans left healthy foodways in the dusty past, working long hours instead to make enough money to not only purchase huge (unsatisfying and unhealthy) quantities of frankenfood, but also to pay medical and insurance institutions to try to repair the increasingly obvious damage from such a weird diet.
Earth creatures are made to thrive in a food system that uses and respects every aspect of their own bioregion: soil, water, weather, and billions of creatures, from microbes to bears, who contribute to the quality of the food. Non-human creatures eat that way without even thinking about it; in fact, it’s their only option. Humans, though, can choose to eat foods from anyplace on the entire planet, and that’s what most of us do; rarely do we choose to seek out locally- (and usually organically-)grown food.
So, let’s say you have been convinced by this mini-rant to find out more about locavoristic behavior; just how would you go about it? Here are some beginners:
- Read Pollan’s book, and pass it along for others to read
- Visit Deb Molinaro’s Locavores blog, an entertaining and enlightening site about one woman’s journey into locavorism — another made-up word, but I’m sure you know what it means — including links to a number of local food providers (particularly handy if you live in the general area about mid-way up the NY/CT border).
- Spend a little time finding out what foods might be found in your own locavore range if you don’t live near Deb. Locavores are an increasing presence on the Internet, so your search should produce results with a minimum of effort on your part. Then visit a few of these wonderful folks and sample their goods.
Before you know it, you may be locavoristic, too. Oh, one more tidbit of really good news about becoming a locavore? The food is absolutely, undeniably delicious.