SIDEBARS: Locavores – Short-distance eating

The local food movement has gained so much steam that the practice has coined a new term — “locavores” are people who go out of their way to eat food locally grown or locally produced. One widely publicized example is California residents Alisa Smith and James Mackinnon, who in 2005 embarked on the 100-mile diet, pledging for a full year to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius of their home.

Now, they say they don’t necessarily recommend the experiment and instead encourage people to try out an occasional 100-mile meal or something else less daunting. Not everything Smith and Mackinnon love could be found within 100 miles (olives, chocolate and beer were three of their most-missed items), but they learned to love new foods, began to eat seasonally, and because they ate nothing but the freshest and ripest foods, the two say that some meals were the best they ever had.

Plus, because they bought from local farmers and producers, any money they spent on food directly returned to their local economy.

Neighborhood resident and Nitschke Natural Beef owner Lauren Nitschke says the concept of “local” and “green” go hand-in-hand in the sense of minimizing transportation and energy costs — “buying local honey, for example, instead of honey transported from California,” she says.
 
Renewed interest in both conserving energy and knowing where food comes from has given rise to the farmers markets cropping up all over Dallas, like the one hosted by Oak Cliff restaurant Bolsa on the first Sunday of every month.

The Nitschkes’ family ranch, just past the Texas border in Jefferson County, Okla., is one of only 13 in the Texas Grassfed Livestock Alliance that supplies grass-fed beef to Whole Foods grocery stores in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Whole Foods prides itself on selling local products, and its definition of “local” includes only products that have traveled less than a day (seven hours or fewer by car or truck) to its stores.

 


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