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Are You a Local Lucy?

13 May 2009 1,142 views 7 Comments

Read a fascinating article in the New York Times about how some large companies are trying to cash in on the “eat local” movement. The following excerpt jumped out at me:

Reporter: “Frito-Lay is one of several big companies that, along with some large-scale farming concerns, are embracing a broad interpretation of what eating locally means. This mission creep has the original locavores choking on their yerba mate.”

Inside my head: Yerba mate isn’t grown locally in the U.S., is it? A quick check on Wikipedia confirmed that yerba mate is a plant grown and processed mainly in South America.

TomatoParade600Conclusion: I think this error shows the bias that the writer and many of the readers have when identifying the lifestyle of locavores and have made the same mistakes myself. Does locavore = liberal/hippie/yuppie, etc. Do all yuppies drink yerba mate? Lots of questions arise when trying to put label on people, who make complex decisions every day.

lucy_EatLocalWhile I do try to eat locally grown and sourced foods made by smaller companies and producers, I don’t necessarily consider myself a “locavore.” People that do tend to open themselves up to questions — what is your personal definition of a locavore? Is it someone who eats only food grown within 200 miles of their home? Should this person own a car? Why 200 miles? I’ve often joked with friends that a true locavore would grow all of their own food, make all of their own clothes, and never travel anywhere beyond where they can go on foot or bicycle.

That said, I recognize that buying food grown and produced in our own communities, eating by the season, and trading transportation by car for a bike or mass transportation is good for the soul and the environment.

foodieMini rant done. What do you think about labeling individual people or groups? Do you have any issues with being labeled. For me, I don’t really like the label “foodie” and call myself a “food lover.” What about you?

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  • Optimista

    Just curious…what don’t you like about the term “foodie”? Too cutesy?

  • kdub512

    Jodi, you can get on that soap box in front of me anytime you want.

  • Jodi

    Hi Optimista,

    Thanks for asking! When I think of a foodie, it brings to mind someone who is voracious in terms of their knowledge and interest in everything about food – it’s history, ways to cook and serve it, best wine pairings, etc. The type of person that quizzes their waiter to see if they really know their stuff.

    While I’m very interested in food in relation to culture, people, and experiences, I don’t know that I can really “geek out” like a true foodie would.

    Also, I’m more of an eater than a culinarian -and give me a food cart any day over a fine dining restaurant. If I have to label myself, I’d say I’m a food lover.

    Kristi — more soap box to come ;-)

  • double tonic

    You make a really good point. And I agree with you about a ‘foodie’ – I see them as being much more educated than I am. Guess that makes me a food lover, too.

    And I’m so with you on the dining cart. I’m hoping to hit NYC this fall, and I’m so much more excited about my first bite into a hot dog from a vendor than I am about a five-course meal. (I’d rather spend the money on an off-Broadway show!)

  • Emily

    What do you think about all this COOL Labeling going on in our stores now? Interesting to see if that has any effect on how people shop.

  • Jodi

    From the little I have read about COOL Labeling (country of origin labeling), it seems silly to me. The extra cost to comply will be passed on to consumers and personally, I don’t think it really guarantees anything about the meat. And, if it is yet another step making it harder for smaller producers to compete, I’m against it. You?

  • Emily

    I completely agree and I guess Canada has taken it to WTO to fight it tooth and nail because it is hurting sales.