June 11, 2014
If one is familiar with terms like "food miles," "eco-consciousness," and "sustainability" then one already knows where this paper is headed. If not, those terms are being used more often since the increasingly popular locavore movement. To understand the locavore movement one must know what a locavore is and its purpose, and the positive and negative aspects of localvorism. The locavore movement began when San Francisco chef Jessica Prentice, along with some of her colleagues, coined the term at the 2005 World Environment Day. It was added to the Oxford American Dictionary as the 2007 Word of the Year. Locavore describes anyone who eats food that is grown locally. His or her diet consists of both perishable and imperishable food that is generally produced within a 100-mile radius of one's home. The movement is not just about eating locally, but also to reduce waste (Farenga and Ness 52). Localvorism has been associated with numerous beneficial qualities. The most basic human need is to consume food to sustain life. Humans need the calories, vitamins and minerals that food gives so they can live healthy and disease free lives. The longer food has been harvested, the more time it has to lose nutrients. Therefore, if fruits and vegetables are required to travel less distance to reach the person that wants to consume them, the fruits or vegetables are likely to be closer to their maximum nutrition level. Foods contain more than just vitamins and minerals, they also have photochemical and powerful disease-fighting substances. These useful parts of various foods are much less potent when they are picked before reaching peak ripeness (Smith and MacKinnon 1). Locally grown produce is not only fresher, but also impacts local economy. Purchasing and eating local produce means more income for the local economy. A study conducted by the New Economics Foundation in London concluded that every dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When produce is purchased through businesses that are not locally owned, that money leaves the community at every transaction (Maiser 1). Purchasing produce locally has prompted a movement that is gradually reshaping the business of growing and supplying food to Americans. Locavores' impact has caused a stoppage in the decline of small farms that had continued for more than a century. Small farms' numbers have grown by 20 percent in the past six years to 1.2 million. This increase has caused Washington to re-allocate the Farm Bill. It increased the amount set aside for small, mostly organic farmers from $100 million to $2.3 billion. The increased money allows small farmers to get up to 75 percent of their organic certification costs reimbursed, and some of them can obtain crop insurance. There is also money for research into organic foods and to promote farmers' markets (Gogoi 1). The reduction of food miles, how far food has traveled before one receives it, is probably the main reason why locavores exist. The food miles reduction concept is that if one reduces the miles that food travels, it will reduce fossil fuel consumption by eliminating the need for it to travel. Meaning it would negate the damage that occurs when shipping food from one country to the next. However, in his article "Math Lessons for Locavores," Stephen Budiansky disagrees by saying,
The statistics brandished by local-food advocates to support such doctrinaire
assertions are always selective, usually misleading and often bogus. This is
particularly the case with respect to the energy cost of transporting food. One
popular and oft-repeated statistic is that it takes 36 (sometimes it's 97) calories of
fossil fuel energy to bring one calorie of iceberg lettuce from California to the
East Coast. That's an apples to oranges (or maybe apples and rocks) comparison
to begin with, because you...
Cited: Budiansky, Stephen. "Math Lessons for Locavores." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 9 June 2014.
Farenga, Stephen, and Daniel Ness. "Going locavore: Teaching students about the benefits of food produced locally." Science Scope 33.5 (2010): 52-56. Education Research Complete. Web. 9 June 2014.
Gogoi, Pallavi. “The Rise of the ‘Locavore’: How the Strengthening Local Food Movement in Towns Across the U.S. Is Reshaping Farms and Food Retailing.” Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg, 20 May 2008. Web. 17 Dec. 2009.
Mcwilliams, James. "Food That Travels Well." The New York Times. The New York Times, 6 Aug. 2007. Web. 9 June 2014.
Roberts, Paul. The End of Food. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. Print.
Smith, Alisa, and J. B. MacKinnon. Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally. New York: Harmony, 2007. Print.
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