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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Becoming a Locavore

Locavore: someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles (240 km). The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, with some arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locally grown food is an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.

I don't have a radius from whence my food must come, but increasingly as I eat real food, I find that more of my purchases are local. I've always had a thing for good produce. A juicy, fresh peach on a hot summer day- heaven. And that's not something you find at a grocery store in the middle of March. You find it at farmers markets, on a friends peach tree, or on a local farm. 

Earlier this year, our family joined a CSA group (Community Supported Agriculture). Every week we pay $22 for a basketful of organic produce. It's supposed to all be local, although I have noticed a few stickers that say things like "chile" or "peru"-- not quite the local I was looking for. Most of the produce is from places in California (where I live), and almost all of it tastes much better than what you'd find in the store. An unexpected benefit has been meeting like-minded people. Some are there because they are vegan, some for the value, and some because they want to support local farms. It's been a great adventure to bring home new veggies that I've never tasted before and to try to figure out something new to do with them. It's made me (and my family) try all kinds of new foods.

From the produce buying club, I met some people interested in going in on a beef purchase. A while back, we were able to split a side of grass fed beef from a local farm. It actually cost less than the per pound price I paid for grass fed ground beef at the store.

This same group is going in on some pastured chickens, again from a local farm. We are buying in bulk and getting a discount. I'm excited to be supporting a local farm, and for the added nutrition of pastured chickens. I like knowing they were raised humanely by someone supporting the environment.

My eggs come from the local nursery or a small farm down the street. These eggs are like nothing I've ever seen in a store, even when I've bought "free range, organic eggs." The yolks are bright orange with a rich, distinctive egg flavor. I've become a regular at the nursery, and the lady at the counter always knows what I'm there for. Last  time I came by in the morning, she was washing eggs that had just been gathered from outside. The happy chickens live just out back.

Becoming a locavore is a process. I still buy many things from grocery stores that have been shipped from who-knows-where. But I am becoming increasingly aware of where things come from, and how that impacts both the environment and our health. This summer we plan to expand our garden so that we can eat from the most local source available- our backyard.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday.


  1. I too have found myself becoming a locatarian. But I don't eat *everything* from a certain mile radius. Sometimes you just have to do what you can.

  2. I'd love to hear more about your garden. What are you going to plant?

  3. you are seriously such an inspiration with this blog. I'm still in more of the thinking about what you say stage then the doing part but almost evertime i get meat or drink milk i think about your blog and how i really do need to make the switch to organic/grass fed/free range. KOKO keep on keepin on. You are very motivating and i'm starting to feel bad feeding my body and my family so many things that are just awful for us. I think i know the egg place your talking about, how much does the lady charge you?

  4. Tamlynn, I will do a post about gardening and composting soon- I need to get on that! I want to plant everything, but since I'm not all that great of a gardener, we're taking baby steps. Last year was an improvement over years past, so hopefully this year will be even better!
    Jessica, Thanks for all your nice words! Even thinking about all this stuff is a step in the right direction. We have totally changed a little at a time- trying to do it all at once is too overwhelming. The nursery where I get my eggs is Cherry Valley Nursery, on Cherry Valley. They charge $3/ dozen or $7/ 30 ( I always get the big flat because it saves a little money and I don't have to go back as often). The other place is Brookside Meadows, I think it's called, on Union and Brookside. She charges $3/ dozen also and also sells duck eggs and goose eggs. I've tried the duck and they were good, but James says they taste, and I quote, "ducky."

  5. I've read that duck eggs are good for baking. Not sure why, but that's what I've read. :) I love my 4 little hens. I haven't had to buy eggs for 9 months-since they all became mature enough to start laying. Chanelle, I commented on another post about this, but I am interested in your beef source. Are you going to do another purchase this year?

    I'm ready to rip out my winter garden and start the summer things. The swiss chard is still going strong though, so need to eat that up first.

  6. Tamlynn (and any other interested southern californians), this is the website where we gather names for meat purchases. There is a pastured chicken purchase going on right now. I don't think there is anything for beef, but if you start a discussion, people will usually respond. I am about to run out from my last beef purchase so I'll need to get some more soon too.
    You'll need to register to see the board.