According to “Garden to Table: A 5-Year Look at Food Gardening in America,” a report from the National Gardening Association, 42 million U.S. households grew produce in home or community gardens in 2013 – a 17 percent increase over 10 years. Millennials nearly doubled their spending on food gardening from $632 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2013. Community gardens also are increasing in number, reports the American Community Garden Association, with a 200 percent increase from 2008 to 2013. With garden space so readily accessible, going locavore is easier than ever.
So, you may be wondering, “with my busy schedule or lack of culinary skills” is locavorism right for me? J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, authors of “Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet” advocate giving the diet a try on a small scale, maybe a day, week or month, and allowing yourself the flexibility to make exceptions for the foods that you simply can’t live without.
Plan ahead to reap the delicious bounty of fresh food that your garden has to offer.
The motivation for these dietary restrictions is not just the consumption of higher quality fare, though locavores swear by the improved taste and nutrition that local food offers. Consuming only locally grown food is also a way to inject money into the local economy, support small farmers over large-scale agribusinesses and reduce the pollution associated with shipping foods from such far flung places as Chile and Asia. It also provides food for thought.
Here are five tips to be a successful locavore:
1. Does your land get sufficient sunlight? Don’t expect to grow tomatoes in the shade.
2. Plant the foods you eat and use frequently in your cooking. If you use a ton of oregano, plant oregano.
3. Plant to supplement what’s readily available in local grocers and farmer’s markets. Herbs are a good choice, since fresh-harvested from the garden will nearly always be of higher quality.
4. Enlist friends to try a local diet in a group. Share recipes, sources for local foods – and the bumper crop of zucchini.
5. Plant an edible landscape.