Locavores: Loco or Logical?
"Locavore." Without yet knowing what the name means, one senses an urge to be part of it. It came to our attention via a report on Great Lakes Radio Consortium. Click. Oh, here it is...more on locavores. Click. Darn, this is the same Frisco 100-milers, just another thing you don't have energy for after the job, the kids, the dog... another reason to feel guilty. Every trend needs a catchy name, and it seems the 100-mile diet has found one. But wait: is it possible there is more to it? Let's at least hear what those level-headed midwesterners have to say on the topic.Well, Michigan has blueberries and sweet corn, cherries and squash. That's food worth canning. But level-headed they are. Holly DuMond believes "every dollar that we spend is a vote." The DuMonds vote for keeping coffee and chocolate. But not for apples imported from China. The challenge? In the food distribution system of most markets, few know where the products really come from. How can you buy local if even foods typical of your locale are being transported 1500 miles to your neighborhood grocers?
GLRC interviews J.B. MacKinnon, who wrote a book on the experience he and his partner had trying to go 100% locavore (and losing 15 pounds before getting the swing of it). McKinnon's words drip juicy and sweet from the tinny computer speakers: "...unprocessed foods, made from scratch, picked at their seasonal peak..." We are reminded of driving through the French country side, seeing the white cows roaming the fields, glowing with health. The local French butcher has a sign in the shop over the day's selection of fresh cuts of beef: here you know the age and weight of the cow and the name of the farmer who raised it when you make your choice to balance your diet with a bit of meat. Maybe this is not about feeling guilty. This is about feeling good.
Studies show that animals raised on the free range provide healthier foodstuff for humans. The varied diet and movement results in an animal with healthier fats, lower cholesterol, and this translates directly to a benefit up the food chain. Even if you choose a vegetarian lifestyle, studies show that the vitamin levels in flash-frozen foods can compete with or beat the fresh stuff on the grocery shelf. These delicate but essential micronutrients are not designed to survive long journeys to the table. The cancer preventing phytochemicals in fruit and nut oils are very sensitive to heat or light, and the olive oil on your supermarket shelf was certainly not handled with the care needed for you to benefit from that bounty--or that discount price would hit your pocketbook many times harder. Maybe with a few more of those perfectly ripened, fresh from the earth goodies in your diet, the energy to search for one more local product would come naturally. And if enough of us start asking, maybe the market will start putting up signs so you don't even have to ask...you can just pick the product which is grown by a farmer whose name you know.