I mentioned to someone that I admired the person because they were a locavore. They responded that they weren't a locavore because not all their foods were local, just like they weren't a vegetarian because they ate meat along with their vegetables.

Merriam Webster defines locavore as "one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible".

Wikipedia defines locavore as "A locavore is a person interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market."

Locavores.com is a group of locavores "making an effort to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco for an entire month"

One restaurant in my area maintains a chalk board of what ingredients it obtained 'locally' and includes farms 250 miles away.

Jennifer Maiser (editor of EatLocalChallenge.com) was quoted on PBS "10 Steps to Becoming a Locavore" as defining locavore as "Locavores are people who pay attention to where their food comes from and commit to eating local food as much as possible."

There appears to be quite a range of desire, amount, distance, and time. What makes someone a locavore? Is locavore a noun or more like an adjective (you can be more locavove)? Is someone who prefers vegetables from their own garden a locavore even if all their other food is from thousands of miles away? Is someone who eats meat from a farm 500 miles away (which they chose because of it's sustainability focus) not a locavore?

  • 3
    Since there is no uniform definition, this question is impossible to answer.
    – THelper
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


As you found, there is a wide range in what is defined as "local". I still think it is useful to self-identify as a locavore, but beware of people trying to sell you something using the label "local".

Being a locavore is not a philosophical choice that requires an all-or-nothing approach. Since one of the primary reasons for eating locally is to reduce energy use on your behalf to transport food, every reduction is helpful and conversely there is no way to reach zero.

So if you wish to work towards the goals of locavores, feel free to identify yourself as such. My wife and I joke about defining local as "25 feet" when eating a meal from the garden. However we still buy selected items that do not grow in our climate (grapefruit, avacados) because we choose to. Yet by being conscious of where food comes from and choosing sources within 25 miles when possible, we are clearly reducing the total energy use to deliver our food.

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