Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The "locavore" movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers' markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation.See also Jessica Prentice, The Birth of Locavore, and Michael Quinion, Locavore.
"The word 'locavore' shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment," said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. "It's significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way."
"Locavore" was coined two years ago by a group of four women in San Francisco who proposed that local residents should try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius. Other regional movements have emerged since then, though some groups refer to themselves as "localvores" rather than "locavores." However it's spelled, it's a word to watch.
To my ear, locavore sounds harsh, ugly, and cacophonous. The idea has of course been around for a long time. "We eat our own," said Robert Herrick (1591-1674) in His Content in the Country:
Here, here I live with what my boardPrew = Herrick's housekeeper, Prudence Baldwin.
Can with the smallest cost afford.
Though ne'er so mean the viands be,
They well content my Prew and me.
Or pea, or bean, or wort, or beet,
Whatever comes, content makes sweet.
Here we rejoice, because no rent
We pay for our poor tenement
Wherein we rest, and never fear
The landlord or the usurer.
The quarter-day does ne'er affright
Our peaceful slumbers in the night.
We eat our own and batten more,
Because we feed on no man's score;
But pity those whose flanks grow great,
Swell'd with the lard of other's meat.
We bless our fortunes when we see
Our own beloved privacy;
And like our living, where we're known
To very few, or else to none.