The Curious Autodidact

April 5, 2009

The Hierarchy of Healthy Food Choices: A Locavore View

Filed under: environmental ideas,helpful hints,kitchen tips — Honilima @ 8:35 pm

A locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, with the argument that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locally grown food is an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.

The healthiest diets come from eating a variety of fresh foods, and living in a colder climate means less available options during certain times of the year. Although hydroponics make it possible to produce some vegetables (and perhaps some fruits) year-round, even that has its limitations. Considering both human and environmental health, here is a guideline to sourcing food (listed from most optimal to least favorable) if you are unable to get it locally:

• If you can’t get it locally, make sure it’s organic. Skipping the hormones and pesticides is best for you and the environment.

• If you can’t get it organically, try to get your food from a small family farm or farmers’ co-op. When it comes to policymaking and generating pollution, large-scale agribusiness easily out-competes the small-scale family farm. By supporting family owned farms and farmers’ co-ops, you help give farmers a voice in production and processing decisions, and prevent them from being left in the hands of profit-seeking special interest groups.

• If you can’t get your food directly from a family farm or farmers’ co-op, then get it from a local business. Let’s face it certain food items like coffee can’t be grown locally in most parts of the world. Keep your dollars local by focusing on supporting local roasters or coffee shops. Local business owners have a stake in your community and are vital to the health of your local economy. Local restaurant owners are also more likely to source some of their food stocks from local or regional producers.

• If you can’t support a local business, then support Terroir. French for ‘soil’, terroir is a term most often used by wine producers when referring to the specific type of regional geographic influences (soil composition, climate, etc.) that go into producing a wine’s unique finished flavor. In other words, support the specific region or farming practices that specialize in producing your favorite non-local foods (e.g. brie cheese from Brie, France, or coffee that is fair trade and shade-grown).
This list was adapted from


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