Tag Archives: food
By Morgan Dolan
We have all heard of vegetarians, vegans, and those who only eat fruit that falls off of a tree. There is always a “why” behind their food choices – indeed, it seems that the decisions we make about our diets are inherently linked to beliefs that we have about food and the world we live in.
So where do so-called locavores fit into all that?
A locavore is typically someone who either exclusively or primarily eats foods from their own local or regional foodshed (traditionally within a 100-150 mile radius of home).
As a movement, locavorism advocates a preference for local products for a variety of reasons, including:
- Local products travel a much less distance to the consumer, therefore using less fuel and generating less pollution
- The shorter distribution chains also allow for less product wasted during distribution, storage, and merchandising
- Local products are fresher, healthier, and use easy-to-recognize ingredients
- Local products encourage diversification of local agriculture and recirculation of monetary capital within local economies
- Local products also encourage the consumption of organic, GMO-free, and lab-manufactured chemical-free products
The good news is that you don’t need to “be” a locavore (or “be” anything) to acknowledge the benefits of a locavore lifestyle. You don’t need to give up imported cheese, wine, or start fanatically hunting down the origins of every product or consumable in your household.
To acknowledge the benefits of purchasing food and goods from your region or foodshed means that you think about how, prior to WWII, nearly two out of five Americans lived on farms. Food was much more locally grown and marketed. Rarely was food transported further than a day’s distance. After WWII our infrastructure expanded greatly, transportation costs decreased and refrigeration became more accessible. These changes allowed meats, produce, and other commercial products to be transported greater distances at competitive prices.
To think about how food lands on our tables, in our pantries, or how products come to be in our houses, means that we need to look at where we choose to shop. Recent trends in areas that were once vibrant and productive farmlands show that consumers are more and more often heading to supercenters like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Meijer’s for shopping. Convenience and low prices are the draw but this trend starves the local demand for local food and products. Products in these big box stores are primarily imported from countries with low production costs – and the current business model specifically strives to keep them low.
You don’t need to “be” a locavore to conscious of where your dollars are going and what you are choosing to pay for. Furthermore you wouldn’t be alone: Nearly 80% of respondents in a 2006 national survey said they occasionally to always purchased fresh produce directly from growers.
This increased demand is creating opportunities for farmers and growers to expand their marketing channels. Local foods are being sold through farmer’s markets, roadside stands, winter markets, food co-ops, CSAs (community supported agricultural groups), supermarkets, specialty stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and more. CSAs increased from 60 in 1990 to 1150 in 2007. In a similar period, farmers markets went from 1500 to over 4500.
We at the General Store want you to be yourself. Rather than asking you to “be” a locavore, we would rather you just take a minute to think about where your money goes and what it supports. We are trying to bring more and more people’s daily needs under one roof so that you will be able to shop at one place, to get everything you need, and support the Pacific Northwest at the same time.
“The Growing Locavore Movement: A Ripe Opportunity.” 2012. 4 Nov. 2014 <http://geometrx.com/2012/05/the-growing-locavore-movement-a-ripe-opportunity/>
Martinez, Steve. Local food systems; concepts, impacts, and issues. Diane Publishing, 2010.
“Plenty Magazine – Environmental News and Commentary.” 2009. 4 Nov. 2014 <http://www.plentymag.com/blogs/ecoeats/2009/01/some_interesting_locavore_stat_print.php>
The Huffington Post | By Nina Bahadur Posted: 04/24/2013 5:07 pm EDT | Updated: 10/01/2013 11:15 am EDT
“We struggle with it every day: the conflict between our belief that women should celebrate their bodies and the constant public criticism of women’s appearances that communicates the exact opposite message.
So when we came across this incredible comic drawn by Colleen Clark that deals with that ongoing battle, we had to share it.
Clark, a 20-year-old Illustration student at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, completed the comic over a 16-week semester. “I love the phrase ‘write what you know,’ so I chose to write about what I know best: feeling ashamed, embarrassed, and hateful of my body,” Clark told the Huffington Post in an email.
Clark found the second page of the comic particularly hard to draw. “That giant naked woman is a representation of my own body and how I see it,” she said. “I knew people would be disgusted by that drawing, but I look a lot more like that woman than the women in the thousands of ads I see every day. I needed to draw it for me and for the majority of women in the world who look more like her than supermodels.”
Weight stigma is currently very common in the U.S. Fat-shaming is practiced publicly, and overweight and obese Americans are often treated like second-class citizens, subjected to prejudice from employers and healthcare professionals. A 2011 study found that women feel vulnerable to weight stigma in their everyday interactions and relationships, and in 2012, 46 percent of participants in a fat-bias study said they would rather give up one year of life than be obese. Thirty percent said they would rather be divorced than obese.
“[I]t has been difficult to draw and to talk about, because of how close this topic is to my heart,” Clark wrote on her Tumblr. “I really hope people can relate to it at the very least, and that it can help someone think of their bodies a little differently at the most.”
All images belong to Colleen Mary Clark and are reproduced here with her permission.”
“Why you should care
This is just one simple way to use technology to solve an age-old problem: getting good food to people at a reasonable price.
But don’t despair just yet; PareUp has a plan.
This New York-based app developer aims to prevent food waste by letting its users connect with restaurants and grocery stores to buy their excess product before it’s thrown away. PareUp’s online marketplace is launching in early August and the mobile app will be available on Apple Store by mid-September.
“We want to change the cultural conversation around what it means to consume food and the life cycle of food,” says co-founder Margaret Tung. “Because we’re throwing out a lot more than needs to be.”
Together with Jason Chen and Anuj Jhunjhunwala, the PareUp creators have designed what aims to be a win-win system that benefits businesses and clients alike.
Using PareUp’s platform, food retailers can showcase inventory and indicate excess items together with a discounted price and the time when they’ll be ready for sale.
This helps stores and cafés make money by selling products that they could not donate anyway, either because of food safety regulations or because they don’t meet the minimum weight required to arrange a pickup with a food bank or shelter.
Meanwhile, people using PareUp can call dibs and get 50 percent off their favorite treats, from chocolate cookies and artisanal baguettes to BLT sandwiches and quinoa salads.
Trial users claim it’s also a way to explore the city. “I’ve found one of my new favorite spots in Williamsburg because of PareUp,” says Sinead Daly. “I went there with friends to buy handpies after we got a PareUp notification. My two friends lived across the street from the place and had never been! Now they go there every morning.”
PareUp makes a profit by taking a small fee from every transaction, but the app is free to download for both users and retailers.
Still, getting people to eat food that was previously doomed for the trash might take some convincing. Tung admits to a perception problem. “The key is to stop labeling such items as ‘leftovers,’” she says, adding that no products are actually expired.
For now, PareUp will only be available in New York City but its creators are looking to expand as soon as possible. The next destination will likely be Chicago, Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., but the team says it’s received interest from retailers in London, Sydney and Toronto.
Of course, an app won’t end food waste, but it might help reduce the volume. And it easily beats dumpster diving.”