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Think Globally… Plant Locally… Eat Locally… Save Energy

A 2013 study assessing the amount of energy it takes to bring food to our tables here in the US indicates we burn at least 15 calories of energy for every single calorie of nutrition.

What does that mean?

 

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To put these statistics into perspective:

15 fuel calories equates, in energy terms, to 1.2 gallons of gasoline embodied in the average American’s daily diet.

That’s 420 gallons of gasoline per person per year to deliver Americans the food they eat, an amount on par with the 430 gallons the average American burns in their car. The US food system is admittedly more energy intensive than most, but high fuel demand in the service of food procurement is the norm around the world. The bottom line?

Our food chain is linked to an enormous energy platform and is highly energy dependent.

How can we become less energy dependent? There’s a solution that many have already discovered.

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Farm to Table!

Now, in full disclosure, we’re not purists in this. We enjoy avocadoes, bananas, mangoes, pineapple and the occasional papaya, none of which can grow naturally in our zone 7 area. But the more we garden and take trips to the Farmer’s Market… the more we consider the ecology of how our yards affect our neighborhoods… the more aware we become of how every choice we make affects something else. Our choices count.

Farm to Table… Buy Local… Eat local… Community Supported Agriculture… CSA… Sustainable food… Locavore!

These are all terms that tie in with an awesome growing trend that offers a major solution for many of the problems of our time.

ADVANTAGES: Reduced transportation costs, less pollution, less storage, less traffic and less wear and tear on our roads, get to know your neighbors, knowing origin of food sources, survival and disaster preparedness, often organic and sustainable, creates ancillary jobs and education programs, more community self-sufficiency and resilience.

Becoming a Locavore Supports the Entire Community

SUPPORTS: Farm to Table supports local growers/economy, means fresher and healthier produce, more local jobs, small farm families, local networks between producers, vendors, and consumers, and boosts the local tax base.

What supports the community supports the state and what supports the state, supports the country.

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Origin and Development of Locavore

The word “locavore” was coined by Local Foods Wheel co-creator Jessica Prentice. In 2005, she and two other San Francisco Bay Area women, Dede Sampson and Sage Van Wing, had hatched a plan to challenge Bay Area residents to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco for the entire month of August. They came up with a catchy name, launched a website, and the movement grew like a zucchini in the summer (Locavore was even the 2007 Word of the Year for the Oxford American Dictionary!).

Locavores are interested in making an impact on their community by supporting the local farmers.

The locavore movement has been successful in supporting small local farmers. After declining for more than a century, the number of small farms has increased 20% in the past six years, to 1.2 million, according to the [US] Agriculture Department.

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3 Examples of Locavores in Action Supporting Local Foods

North Carolina 10% Campaign
Launched in late 2009, North Carolina’s 10% Campaign1)http://www.cefs.ncsu.edu/whatwedo/foodsystems/10percent.html is aimed at stimulating economic development, creating jobs and promoting North Carolina’s agricultural offerings. The campaign is a partnership between The Center for Environmental Farming Systems, (CEFS) with support from N.C. Cooperative Extension and the Golden LEAF Foundation.

More than 4,600 individuals and 543 businesses, including 76 restaurants, have signed on to the campaign through the website NC10percent.com,2)https://www.ncsu.edu/project/nc10percent/ as they have pledged to spend 10 percent of their food budget on locally sourced foods. Participants receive weekly emails prompting them to record how much they have spent on local food that week.

Currently the campaign reports that more than $14 million has been recorded by participants. “The $10 million mark is a true testament to the commitment of our agricultural community and the quality of North Carolina-grown products.”

Growing Power, Inc.
Urban environments are known for their food deserts in areas of poverty, and most of the food available is shipped in. Growing Power, Inc.3)http://www.growingpower.org/ combats has a mission of “helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities”. There are several different farms in the Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago area that are good agricultural practice (GAP) certified.

Fifth Season Co-op
Fifth season Cooperative,4)http://www.fifthseasoncoop.com/ established in 2010, functions differently than most other local food co-ops in that it does not have a storefront. Fifth Season has six member classes encompassing everyone involved in getting local food from the ground to the table.

Member classes include: Workers, Processors, Producer Groups, Buyers and Distributors. The Co-op functions as a food hub that helps to take down the barriers to market entry for smaller local growers and processors by offering GAP auditing, an insurance umbrella and connection to the distributor member’s sales network and logistics.

This model works well for moving large volumes of locally produced foods into local establishments that already serve the public such as restaurants, hospitals and schools. Fifth Season is located in Viroqua, WI and aggregates from a 150-mile radius.

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Are You a Locavore?

Indeed, if you enjoy growing and feasting on your own produce, sharing your bounty with others, or perhaps, taking your products to market, then that’s all part of the movement. Let us know where you figure into this sustainable revolution and what’s going on in your local community.

RESOURCES: Locavore Index5)http://www.strollingoftheheifers.com/locavoreindex/6)http://localdirt.com/7)http://www.localfoodswheel.com/locavores/8)http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-07-22/the-energy-cost-of-food9)http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/

If you’re interested in farming your backyard or land in order to earn a living or extra income, you may enjoy these articles.10)https://www.gardensall.com/turn-your-backyard-garden-into-an-urban-farm/ 11)https://www.gardensall.com/small-farm-organic-gardening-for-profit-on-just-18-acre/

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I’m LeAura Alderson, entrepreneur, ideator, media publisher, writer and editor of GardensAll.com. Pursuits in recent years have been more planting seeds of ideas for business growth more than gardening. However, I’ve always been interested in medicinal herbs and getting nutrition and healing from food over pharmacy. As a family we’re eager to dig more deeply into gardening and edible landscape for the love of fresh organic foods and self sustainability. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the creative ingenuity of the GardensAll community.