May 07, 2007
You Need a Radius and a Schtick
Gary Nabhan wrote what I consider to be the book on eating locally, Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods (2001), but he didn't have a schtick.
These people have a shtick. It helps if you coin a new word: "locavore." (Think of Faith Popcorn and "cocooning," whether it was really happening or not--I am still waiting for her 2006 "aromatic deodorant".)
Then you get some adulatory news coverage: at least this writer mentions Nabhan.
Go to the hundred-mile diet website, input a US or Canadian postal code, and get a map like the one above.
Our 100-mile radius would give us wild game, beef, lamb, goat, etc., microbrews from Colorado Springs plus San Luis Valley potatoes (barely) and St. Charles Mesa vegetables. But no distilled spirits and no inexpensive wine.
Nabhan was wilier, I think: he drew his 200-mile circle to include some tequila-producing areas of Sonora and the tip of the Gulf of California for seafood.
And still he got, "the essential cultural relations to the foods that truly nourish us, affirming our bonds to family, community, landscape, and season," to quote one of the book blurbs.
One hundred miles or twice that: if it gets you thinking about the relationships between food, energy, wildlife, transportation, local economies, and all of it, then it's a good thing. And you may well eat better.
UPDATE, May 15: I was wrong about distilled spirits. Whiskey is available, of the ultra-expensive boutique variety.