I am Not a Locavore
Editor’s Note: At the Local Beet, we believe, utmost, in a “Practical Approach to Local Eating.” It means we eschew labels, eat citrus (especially when in season), and try our best to live the local life. Some people, like our friend Sharon, don’t want to be shoe-horned into a lifestyle. We don’t agree with everything she says, but we know she has some good points.
I am not a locavore.
During warmer months, I visit Green City Market weekly for produce, dairy, eggs and meat and prepare meals almost exclusively from my what I buy there. If I miss a week of shopping during summer, it’s because I’m running my business, leading culinary bicycle tours, which have involved Green City Market vendors and regularly showcase Chicago establishments with locavore philosophies. I’d grow my own food if plants liked me more.
For fun, I visit other farmers markets and community gardens around the city, read The Local Beet and Michael Pollan and subscribe to the blogs and tweets of passionate locavores. If I’m eating out or someone asks me for a restaurant recommendation, more often than not my choices are establishments with chefs dedicated to sourcing ingredients from Midwestern farms.
Perhaps it’s because I generally shun labels; I don’t like to be called names. Moreover, “locavore” strikes me as an ugly word. There’s a vulgarity and ostentation to that mouth full of vowels. Like a roar, the word begs to be heard, which leads me to my fatigue.
I hear and see “eat local” proclamations everywhere: in grocery stores and magazines, on tote bags and t-shirts, on menus and public transportation. Most locavores I’ve encountered insist that eating local isn’t stringent. It is not, after all, about giving up citrus.
Though isn’t propaganda inherently pedantic? Guides to local eating abound, often in the prescriptive form of lists. I eat for pleasure and would fail miserably if I ever had to diet. While I often create and consult lists of what I’d like to eat, I am by my nature simply not able to digest programs for how to eat.
In other words, I have a uniquely amalgamated food pedigree. I think it’s in my genes to love French cheese, Ecuadorian chocolate, meat from Australia and New Zealand, Spanish wine, Belgian beer and Japanese tea. Food is how I’ve explored distant places, and one of the reasons I have made Chicago my home is because I can eat the world here.