from Indiana MarketMaker
What Exactly Is Local Food?
Talk of local food is everywhere. But what does it mean? How local is local? Local is shorthand for an idea that doesn't have a firm definition. Unlike organic standards, which entail specific legal definitions, inspection processes, and labels, local means different things to different people, depending on where they live, how long their growing season is, and what products they are looking for.
Practically speaking, local food production can be thought of in concentric circles that start with growing food at home. The next ring out might be food grown in our immediate community - then state, region, and country. For some parts of the year or for some products that thrive in the local climate, it may be possible to buy closer to home. At other times, or for less common products, an expanded reach may be required.
People who value local as their primary food criterion are sometimes referred to as locavores. The term " locavore " was coined by Jessica Prentice from the San Francisco Bay Area for World Environment Day 2005 to describe and promote the practice of eating a diet consisting of food harvested from within an area most commonly bound by a 100 mile radius. With such excitement and momentum building in the local food movement, the New Oxford American Dictionary chose locavore as its word of the year in 2007.
Buying local supports a more sustainable food system because true sustainability goes beyond the methods used in food production to include every step that brings food from farm to plate.