The buzzword “locavore” didn’t even exist prior to 2005. But the concept was there, and had been since the early ‘60s in places like Berkeley, California, where innovative chefs opened restaurants with food entirely sourced from local farmers. Take Chez Panisse, for example, and the food cooperative Swallow, where Ruth Reichl worked in the ‘70s.
Locavore was the marriage of two words — local and the Latin word vorare, meaning diet — written into existence by the San Francisco Chronicle. Reporter Olivia Wu needed a quick way to describe the local food movement, and Jessica Prentice, chef, author, and co-founder of Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley, offered the solution.
The modern food movement as we know it today — focused on seasonality, locality, and sustainable farming practices — is a reaction to the rise of industrial farming in the ‘50s. Icons in the movement, like Alice Waters, Carlo Petrini, and Michael Pollan, have become the spokespeople for this lifestyle.
But why should people adopt this approach to food? “Eating local” means a lot more than a charming trip to the farmers market (which is, of course, a benefit). Locally harvested food gives buyers more power over their food choices, from the relationships they build with the individuals who actually grow their favorite produce to the noticeable difference in taste that they experience at the dinner table. Here are the top 10 reasons to opt for locally harvested foods next time you are planning your grocery list.
Large chain supermarkets and industrial agriculture handed grocery stores and food suppliers the power to pick the varietals that we eat today. In the process, many unique and heirloom varietals have disappeared from shelves.
Farmers markets provide the space for shoppers to communicate with food growers and like-minded locavores. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) ventures have proven increasingly popular in urban areas across the country and provide a physical space for people to meet.
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.