|Eating locally is a growing trend promoted and perceived as an alternative to concerns related to industrialized agricultural. Buying from local famers and producers is seen as a way to eat healthier, reduce environmental impacts, and sustain communities. As a result the number of farmers markets, home gardens, and community-supported agriculture (CSAs) have increased exponentially across the United States. Grocers are also capitalizing on consumer interests fostering relationships with local producers, creating markets for local farmers, and developing in-store materials to promote their focus on local.
Local food initiatives have been made popular by writers such as Barbara Kingsolver and Smith and MacKinnon who highlighted the benefits and possibilities of eating a “local” diet by documenting their year of eating food grown only within a certain geographic distance of their homes. These publications along with Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and web initiatives such as that of the original locavores– four San Francisco women who encouraged their neighbors and community members to grow and process their own food and to buy foods within a 100-mile radius of their homes– have popularized the movement. Additionally people are participating in eat local challenges with similar goals of eating food grown in a certain proximity to their home and then dialogging about their experiences, such as the Splendid Table: Locavore Nation describes. A number of movies such as Food, Inc., King Corn, and The Future of Food have also increased consumer awareness of where our food comes from by seeking to expose the food industry, and thus increased the popularity of eating locally. The challenge and commitment is to eat locally as often characterized by food miles that include eating food grown, produced, or processed within a certain mile radius. What is also important is to consider the ecological footprint of the food, the stewardship practices by the growers, the actual location of the food cultivation as well as the processing and distribution locations.
Home to proclaimed foodies, Portland has been put on the map by local sustainable eateries, food to school initiatives, and increasing support of farmers’ markets. It is with these initiatives that local food has become a movement within the Willamette Valley. The Oregon Food Bank has partnered with Oregon State University to provide a resource for finding places to grow food locally (Cite, year)
There are challenges with the local food movement. One is that the term “local” — as defined by producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers — is inconsistent. The second is the idea that local food is better for the environment; there must also be maintenance of the land in order to ensure that food is sustainable. Lastly is the notion that local food is healthier; purchasing local food does not necessarily make it healthier. However, by purchasing locally, the consumer has the opportunity to form a relationship with their producer, know their production methods, and make an educated choice to purchase that product.
|Eating Local Translation Needed
Comer localmente es una tendencia creciendo que se promueve percibe como un alternativo a las preocupaciones relacionadas con agricultura industrializada. Se considera comprar de granjas y productores locales como una manera para comer mas sanamente, reducir impactos ambientales, y sostener comunidades. Como resultado, el número de mercados de agricultores, jardines de casa, y Apoyo Comunitario a la Agricultura (CSA siglas en Inglés) han crecido exponencialmente en los EE.UU. Tenderos también sacan provecho de interés de consumidores en fomentar relaciones con productores locales, crear mercados para agricultores, y desarrollar materiales en las tiendas que promueven su foco en local.
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Photos by Frank Miller
Willamette Valley Eating Local Subtopics
- Meat and Dairy
- Wine and Beer
- Farm Direct:
- The Kitchen
- What is in Season (Seasonality) / En Temporada (Estacionalidad)
- Eating Local Networks and Initiatives
- What is it like to eat locally in your state?
- What are the greatest challenges to the local food movement in the Willamette Valley?