Thanks for stopping by Locavore Network!
With all the news articles, website columns and blogs popping up touting the "Eating Local" movement, the "100 Mile Diet" and the "Local Challenge" it seems as if the Locavore movement is a new phenomenon. In actuality, until some time in the early 1950's, the majority of people in the United States actually were "Locavores" but the term did not come into existence until a couple of years ago.
History of "Locally Grown"
Prior to the 1940's when modern refrigeration became viable, consumers relied on their own gardens for fresh fruits and vegetables. Canning or some other method of preservation was a way of life and a weather related crop failure meant you might not have fresh vegetables this year.
While we doubt that anyone truly wants to go back to those days, eating foods that are grown or produced locally have many economic, social and health benefits. Fruit that can be picked at the peak of ripeness and purchased within the next day or two is unmatched for flavor, but it would never survive a trip to the next State.
As the supermarket industry matured and more retail space was devoted to groceries, locally grown products became a smaller part of the food chain. The urbanization of society created consumers who began to demand greater selection of fruits and vegetables on a year round basis, and thanks to the ability to transport product at optimal temperatures, you can now find almost any produce item on a year round basis. Unfortunately, thanks to the ability to transport product at optimal temperatures, the fruit and vegetables available at your local retailer may not taste good, may never ripen and may not be helping the local economy.
As commercial refrigeration and transportation became more affordable, it became less important for farmers to try and find customers to buy their entire crop locally. Specialized industries began to develop to handle anything the farmer needed to outsource...from seed tests, to harvest, to marketing and transportation. Farmers were no longer required to handle the entire growing and marketing process, but could focus on growing their crops.
As more consumers moved to urban centers and away from the rural areas, they began to expect that they could buy "out of season" product on a year round basis. Eventually, the new generations of shoppers lost touch with "Seasonality". When they purchase a flavorless peach in January, they often attribute it to something the store has done improperly rather than the fact that it had to be harvested 10 days ago in order to make it to the shelf. Now with the renewed interest in eating locally, local producers have many more opportunities to sell their harvest locally. CSAs, Farmers markets and other forms of Direct Marketing have enabled a renewed interest in local harvests.
What We Do
In reality, every grower is a "local grower"...to someone. They may not necessarily be local to you, but that is why we developed Locavore Network! We provide tools that help you to find sources of local fruits, vegetables, meat, wine, and dairy products and to facilitate direct communication with growers in your "food shed".
We've designed our site to be like a conversation with friends. You can discuss topics, post comments, ask questions, provide information and become a member of your favorite Grower's private group.
If you're not sure what a Locavore is, or does, or how you might be able to get more information, check out our "15 Step Guide to becoming a Locavore".