08/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Locavores Frequently Asked Questions: How To Start Eating Locally

The locavore movement is quickly gaining momentum, from devout green bloggers to newly converted followers. Even celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse has jumped on the sustainable dining bandwagon.

Locavore was the 2007 "word of the year" in the Oxford American Dictionary.

"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.

Blog "Looking For A Bright Green Future" provides 12 reasons to buy locally and become a locavore.

1) Freshness. Locally-grown organic fruits and vegetables are usually harvested within 24 hours of being purchased by the consumer. Produce from California can't be that fresh.

2) Taste. Produce picked and eaten at the height of freshness tastes better.

3) Nutrition. Nutritional value declines, often dramatically, as time passes after harvest. Because locally-grown produce is freshest, it is more nutritionally complete.

DotEarth's Andrew C. Revkin describes his frustration with the somewhat humorous "lazy locavore" trend of hiring others to tend to your personal vegetable garden:

"Lazy locavores" [are] people who want to buy local produce or raise it on their own property but don't want to get their hands dirty (or lack the time). I suppose it's great to think that a new class of "green jobs" might emerge in this kind of service sector (paying someone to create and weed your vegetable garden). But to my mind it shares some of the qualities of going "carbon neutral" by buying credits from some entity that's planted trees somewhere.

It's the indirect nature of this relationship to nature that makes me wonder. It may provide some fresh veggies, but is this a cure for "nature deficit disorder"? I doubt it.
Still, anything that also might turn a lawn into a garden is a start.


:: Find out what produce is available near you each season.

:: Jenna Woginrich's blog about eating sustainably on the Huffington Post.

::More on green living from the Huffington Post.