What is a Locavore?

A Locavore is a person dedicated to eating food grown and produced locally. There are a lot of good reasons to eat locally grown and produced food.

  • Less resources (primarily fossil fuels) are expended packaging and transporting local food.
  • It supports the local economy – more money remains in our local community.
  • It is healthier – processing and preservatives are less important since the food doesn’t have to travel so far.
  • It is safer and thus locavores are less susceptible to foodborne illnesses.
  • It is more honest – honesty in terms of the food source (i.e. organic seeds vs. GMO seeds) and the growing/producing process. It has to be! We are all neighbors.
  • If for no other reason – IT TASTES BETTER!

According to Susan Klein, Director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, $0.43 of every $1.00 spent at a locally owned business stays in the community whereas only $0.13 out of that same $1.00 stays in the community if you shop at a national chain.

Did you know?

  • One pound of prewashed lettuce contains 80 calories of food energy. According to Cornell ecologist David Pimental, growing, chilling, washing, packaging, and transporting that box of organic salad to a plate on the east coast takes more than 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy, or 57 calories of fossil fuel energy for every calorie of food.
  • The food industry burns nearly a fifth of all the petroleum consumed in the US (about as much as automobiles do). And, only a fifth of the total energy used to feed us is consumed on the farm; the rest is spent processint and moving food around. source: Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    The average 400 calorie breakfast consumes 2800 calories of fossil fuel energy.
  • The average meal uses 17 times more petroleum products then an entirely local meal.
  • On average, food items travel 1500 miles before arriving at your table.
  • 3% of all farms produce 62% of all agricultural production (talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket!).
  • 70% of processed foods in US grocery stores contain bioengineered ingredients.
  • Almost 96% of the commercial vegetable varieties that existed in 1903 are now extinct.
  • 91 cents of each dollar spent in a traditional food market goes to suppliers, processors, middlemen, and marketers and only 9 cents goes to the farmer while farm markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of every dollar. source another
  • 3000 acres of US farmland is lost to development (suburban sprawl) every day.
  • During the 1950’s the average American household spent 30% of their income on food. Today we now spend on 15% of our income on food. source
    Vermont lost nearly 90 percent of its remaining farmland between the 1950’s and today.
  • Even in the early 1980s, Vermont was importing 70% to 80% of its carrots and apples.
  • Only 10% to 15% of our food budgets are spent on locally grown products. soure
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, upon leaving his post in 2004 said, “I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not, you know, attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do, and we are importing a lot of food from the Middle East, and it would be easy to tamper with that.”
  • The U.S. government has awarded $130 billion in farm subsidies since 1995, with 70% to the top 10% largest producers. Over half the industry, predominantly small- and medium-sized farms, receive nothing. source
    If Vermont substituted local products for only 10 percent of the food we import, it would result in $376 million in new economic output, including $69 million in personal earnings from 3,616 jobs.
  • The food system accounts for almost 16 percent of total U.S. energy consumption, which includes production, processing and distribution (statistic from June 2001).
  • It is estimated that 6 to 12 cents of every dollar spent on food consumed in the home represents transportation costs.