Today’s issue of The New York Times features an article entitled “When ‘Local’ Makes it Big.” Note the use of ironic single quotes. The article mentions new marketing campaigns from corporations like Frito-Lay, who are pitching their chips as farmer-friendly and locally grown (at least in ads that are run in states where the farms are located).
This, of course, presents a conundrum for people who are trying to eat more locally in order to reduce their carbon footprint. For someone living in Florida, are Lay’s potato chips, made from potatoes grown in Florida, really to be considered local food?
Jessica Prentice, the San Francisco-based food writer quoted in the article, doesn’t believe so. “The local foods movement is about an ethic of food that values reviving small scale, ecological, place-based, and relationship-based food systems,” she says. “Large corporations peddling junk food are the exact opposite of what this is about.”
How can beginning and committed locavores learn to navigate the increasingly complicated world of responsible eating?
Amy Cotler, author of Storey’s upcoming book The Locavore Way, believes her book is well-positioned to address concerns about what it means to truly eat locally. “The book really focuses on becoming a smart, thoughtful shopper,” she says.
Cotler covers all the basics in her book — why eating locally is important, where to find local foods, how to eat locally on a budget, what questions to ask at the farmers’ market, and even how to grow your own food. She offers savvy shopping tips, simple guides to preparing whatever is in season, ideas for bringing out the best flavors in farm-fresh foods, and strategies for making the harvest last.
Like Prentice, she believes that eating locally encompasses more than just the act of eating. “Local food carries its origins and context with it,” she says. “It bonds us to our families and friends, neighbors, community, and region, grounding us in what often seems a detached and fragmented world.”
— Carleen Madigan, Acquiring Editor