The term “locavore” was coined by Jessica Prentice who was one of the founders of the Local Foods Wheel. This initiative was created to challenge the residents of Bay Area to only consume foodstuffs that had either been grown or harvested within a one hundred-mile radius of San Francisco.
The event that was started in San Francisco in 2005 during the World Environment Day was also known as the local food movement that aimed at creating a network of food producers who would provide healthy food products to local residents. It was also founded with the aim of boosting the local economy of household farmers and also to discourage the consumption of genetically modified food products. The term has really gained prominence over the years even amongst conservationists who are mainly concerned about the human impact on the environment. Additionally, it has led to the significant increase of health conscious individuals in America in relation to their food consumption.
The locavores in Ohio are significantly evidenced in the farmers market in a place known as rural Athens situated in Ohio. This market that opens twice on a weekly basis bursts with life on Wednesdays and on Saturdays with farmers brining fresh food and beverages including locally brewed coffee (Grothjan, 1). This is one of the areas that have the earliest adoption of locavorism that was attributed to gain prominence from a number of decades ago.
On these two days, tourists are even seen around the market with an aim of maximizing on the local food produce. Farmers are proud that their food stuffs get fully sold out in small distances of up to twenty miles from the farms with three quarters of the same being sold to direct consumers. The rest of the produce is delivered to local restaurants within Ohio.
Ohio generally has been experiencing significant improvements in relation to the adoption and consumption of local food. According to the Locavore Index which is measured annually, Ohio was ranked number 24 amongst the 50 American states. This was a significant improvement from number 32 in the previous year which was mainly boosted by the number of local hospitals in Ohio that serve local food (Strolling of the Heifers, 1). This shows that the local food movement in Ohio is gradually increasing as well as in America as a whole. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the local food movement in America generated approximately seven billion US Dollars as of 2012. This was a significant improvement in comparison to the revenue generated of 4.8 billion US Dollars in 2008. This growth in the local food movement can be attributed to the increase in farmers markets over the years. The farmers markets in the year 2011 were approximately 7,200 in comparison to 2,900 markets in the year 2000.
The local food movement in Ohio is bound to significantly grow over the years mainly because it thrives on the existing relationships between members of the community. These people have developed a level of trust amongst one another and synergy that has seen the growth of local produce in this state. The interconnectivity of relationships that cut across farmers, schools, hospitals, restaurants and other local stores have encouraged farmers to grow more local farm produce. One of the benefits of such a movement is the growth of the local economy mainly because Ohio is able to benefit from synergy from the integration of the various businesses. Additionally, it creates a peaceful and friendly environment which is able to even attract tourists who would like to take part in the harmony that comes with such a community.
Various organizations have also come up that guide farm and other food entrepreneurs on creating value added products from their farms. These organizations, including ACEnet in Athens, take the entrepreneurs through incubation of their businesses, several training programs and even introduce them to various direct and wholesale markets.
Additionally, with the increased health concerns over processed foods more people are going back to local farmers markets with the aim of obtaining a higher nutritional value from these food stuffs. These benefits are very valuable to the American population as most people live in the midst of the city where they are unable to access organic chicken, unprocessed meat, natural wild-caught fish amongst other nutritional produce.
The local food movement will also increase the diversity and variety of agricultural produce not only in Ohio but also across the other states in America. This will also reduce the increased dependence on monoculture where a single crop is grown on massive acres of land which adversely affects the fertility of the soil.
However, amidst all the benefits of local produce the local food movement also has significant detriments. One of these being the fact that local food produce may be more expensive than other food products. Farmers markets may not be able to reduce their prices in comparison to mass producers and one may end up paying significantly more to acquire higher nutritional contents. Locavore means that one will be limited to the produce that grows in their particular region and also the particular product that grows within that particular season. For example, during winter seasons, fruits and vegetables may be rare to acquire.
Grothjan, Sarah. “Sustainable Food Systems: How Locavores Are Leading the Way in Athens, Ohio.” Occupy.com. N.p., 05 July 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2017.
Stanton, John L., James B. Wiley, and Ferdinand F. Wirth. “Who are the locavores?” Journal of Consumer Marketing 29.4 (2012): 248-61. Web. 1 Aug. 2017.
Strolling of the Heifers. “How Locavore is your state?” Strolling of the Heifers, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2017.