Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
The locavore movement is pretty popular and generally boils down to eating food that is produced within 100 miles from where one lives. That’s great! There are many benefits to eating locally: the food is almost assuredly to be more nutritionally dense, contain less preservatives and will certainly be fresher. All wonderful reasons to become a locavore. The ideology of the locavore movement tends to focus on environmentalism: carbon footprint reduction, health and saving the planet.
Here are The Prepared Homestead‘s top 5 reasons to become a locavore. By the way, you don’t need to join groups or pay membership fees to become a locavore, you can just do it. Now. Today. You can also call it whatever you like. Also, we do not advocate legislating any kind of localism. We agree with Joel Salatin on this.
“We don’t need a law against McDonald’s or a law against slaughterhouse abuse – we ask for too much salvation by legislation. All we need to do is empower individuals with the right philosophy and the right information to opt out en masse.” — Joel Salatin
Top 5 Reasons to Eat Local Food
1. Sourcing food locally builds and supports local economies. In fact, being a locavore creates opportunity for new markets. When you are a strict locavore you are supporting the market gardener who lives close by, the homesteader who sells eggs on the side and your neighbor who wants to trade your bookkeeping work for 1/2 a hog. If everyone reduced their shopping at Wally World by even %50 local jobs would be created from local demand. This is a huge reason to be a locavore. The more and longer money stays local the more benefit to that area.
2. Buying food locally builds community. It’s easy to see that building local economies and sourcing locally means you have to get to know the people that provide your food. To meet all your needs locally you will likely have to use non conventional means to get the food. You might have to go the farmers market on Saturdays, meet the egg guy on Thursdays at noon in some random parking lot or go to your local farmer. Heck, maybe the farm comes to you.
In many cases, this leads to relational development which leads to stronger communities. It doesn’t mean we need to throw out our online communities or other networks it just provides the impetus for local community. In fact consider joining our online community as a supplement to the local.
3. Locavoring builds resilience to shocks in the system. The modern agricultural system is steeped in Just in Time inventory and is underplayed with the assumption of cheap energy. For whatever reason, if there was a shock to the system, the local economy is more resilient just by sheer location. If the price of energy were to spike, let alone the trucks and ships stop, it would impact the local economy less. As preparedness minded people, this reason alone should be enough to convince us to become a locavore.
4. Eating locally is healthier. The locavore movement is exactly right. The modern system is extremely efficient (as long as we have cheap energy) at producing volume, looks and shipability. Nutrient density? Not so much.
Necessarily, when products are shipped around the world they have to be harvested early and in many cases have preservatives applied. Local markets can choose cultivars based on taste, nutrient uptake and density. Plus, nothing needs to be picked early or preserved for 1,000s of miles of travel.
It is better to buy locally, even without organic certification than to buy organic from out of the area. No question. It’s the same thing with animals, small, local producers tend to be transparent. You can know how those animals were raised.
5. Being a locavore forces people to be creative and develop skills. Sourcing all of your food needs can be challenging and it will require creativity. Many local markets are incomplete or not well marketed. After all, it’s hard to compete with the Wally World’s. However, it can be done. Ask around, talk to the gardening clubs, 4-H people, local university extension office, homestead groups and whoever else you can think of.
Sometimes it’s as simple as finding someone who is growing their own food and working a deal to have them grow extra for your family. It’s not just farmers, It’s homesteaders, urban gardeners and your neighbors.
Can’t find that thing you really like? Lemons? Quail? Then grow it or raise it yourself. As an example, lemon trees can be grown in cold climates. During the warm months they are kept outside. In the fall they are brought indoors. With a little study, anyone can develop the skill of growing lemons. Quail take up very little space, grow to full size in just 8 weeks for butcher and/or egg laying. They are relatively simple to care for and can be incorporated into almost any situation. It doesn’t get anymore local than that.
Being a locavore is about so much more than protecting the environment. Let’s take the modern agricultural system an opt out en masse. Check out our online community for ways to help in your local food movement.
All photos by Linde Mitzel, P3 PhotographySean and Monica Mitzel homestead with their family on 40 acres and are using permaculture techniques and methods for the property. The homestead is a demonstration and education site where they teach workshops and raise dairy goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and ducks. The Mitzels have planted food forests, guilds and enjoy wildcrafting and propagating plants. Sean and Monica can often be found podcasting or speaking and teaching at different events. Listen to the podcast and to learn more about the Mitzels, visit The Prepared Homestead. Read all of their MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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