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2007 Word of the Year: Locavore

The New Oxford American Dictionary has just picked their 2007 Word of the Year: it's locavore!

The past year saw the popularization of a trend in using locally grown ingredients, taking advantage of seasonally available foodstuffs that can be bought and prepared without the need for extra preservatives.

The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation.

“The word ‘locavore’ shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment,” said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. “It’s significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way.”

Congrats to Jen Maiser, Jessica Prentice, Sage Van Wing, and DeDe Sampson (pic above) of Locavores!

Links: OUPblog, where you can read the runners-up words | Locavores website - Thanks Purdy and Rebecca!


Locavores aren't logical. So, instead of putting a big load of produce on a truck, driving it to a train and loading it, sending the train to a distribution point and trucking the 1000s of pounds of vegetables to the grocery stores, it makes more sense for a farmer to take a couple hundred pounds, tops, of vegetables, put them in his truck, drive to your local farmers market that you, too, probably drove to to buy your produce. While this might make sense if you are a gourmand who doesn't want to pay Whole (Paycheck) Foods prices, it doesn't make sense for the average person. Not to mention that the whole organic foods movement is almost entirely BS.
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By another name, it's called orthodoxia nervosa.

Or more accurately, with its vaguely-defined rules for living, ill-gotten sense of righteousness, and parochial community it goes by another term: a religion.
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Let me see if I got this straight... locavores aren't logical. It doesn't make sense for the 'average' person. Organic foods are BS, and it appears to be a religous movement? And how do you support those claims? Or were you just trolling? Curious minds want to know.
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Can I gently tread into the middle ground? Since the vast majority of the US cannot grow their own food, they must purchase it at some sort of store. Large farms are the most cost and energy efficient ways to do this.

They do not, however, produce the healthiest or tastiest food. Any movement that encourages the broader availability of truly ripe vegetables gets my support.
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Neoncat: That seems logical to me. The train ride is only a big long chance for the produce to become bruised or rotten. As a result, produce is picked before it has ripened -- hard fruit doesn't bruise as easily, and underripe fruit won't rot as quickly. But the overall quality is diminished by not letting the produce come to full maturity on the plant. Plus it takes fossil fuels to run the trains and any boxcar climate that may be needed to preserve freshness.

And I'm not sure what you mean by the organic foods movement being BS. Yeah, there are some companies who put forth a minimum effort to get their food certified just so they can sell it at a premium price, but farmers who sell locally are likely to have different motivations for growing organically, such as... oh, I don't know... good environmental stewardship.
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@Steven: Yes, you're correct -- they aren't logical. I kind of made my point about it being a new-age stand-in for religion with their preposterous dietary regimen. It's a set of beliefs, a community to belong to, and they tell you what to do. I don't know what source would help that fact to sink in more. Well, maybe more examples would help?

Like what about eating organic food when its only differences, apart from the price, are negligible? Or only food that doesn't involve animals? Or excluding genetically modified crops? Why use such circuitous logic just to adhere to an orthodox diet in the first place? When eating disorders like freeganism may be a feel-good 'righteous' way of eating, they do nothing to solve the problems they claim to fight against, just as being vegan does nothing substantial to actually stop animal cruelty. Or how drinking bottled water isn't exactly healthier, either. Ethos Water may create more pollution and garbage and not actually be any better for you, but they donate a fraction of a dollar to charity for you, so *hugs*, right?

In short these are nothing more than belief systems that don't actually require affecting any meaningful change. But damn if they don't make one feel superior. Because that was the goal all along.

All this talk of religion reminds me of a quote, in fact:

What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’
-Matthew 15:10-20

And people who make a point you disagree with aren't necessarily trolls. Are curious minds sated, or do they need something more to chew on?
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As for the word itself, locavore seems more like a trendy buzzword than one that is going to permanently join the lexicon. I think most of the runners-up would have been better choices.
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I fully support the idea of eating locally, although I realize that it's still not really feasible for some people and not convenient enough for others.
"Locavore" sounds like someone who only eats crazy girls, though.
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If circumstances permit, everyone should grow some of their own produce, but I don't pine for the days when we had vegetable cellars and had to preserve all of our own foods. "Locavores" is a euphemistic word for "Luddites."

The US has the best food distribution system in the world, incorporating intermodal, trucking, rail, and water transportation. We also have some of the lowest-cost food, courtesy of the aforementioned distribution system, and the productivity of our agriculture sector.

"Buying local" is a fine sentiment, but it is illogical. Different regions of this country produce different crops. It might be different in other countries, but this post, and this group, is nothing more than leftard mental masturabtion.
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I think the simple message locavores are trying to get out is that you should support your local farmer's market. I don't see anything wronf with the idea.

I don't think they were pretending to solve global warming by encouraging people to pedal down to their local farmer's market and buy up their produce.
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Locavores are extreme in their belief (they pledge only to eat locally grown food within a hundred mile radius of San Francisco).

But there is something to be said about "eat local" movement.

One can argue that farmers are able to earn more by selling directly to consumers at farmer's market (though the volume that they're able to sell won't be high enough to justify exclusively selling locally) - but to most people this just isn't a significant factor.

As an average consumer, my concern has never been whether the food I eat is locally produced. It's whether the price I pay is compatible with the quality.

I still do the bulk of my shopping at the local supermarket. However, I also like shopping at my local farmer's market. The price there is a little higher, but the fruits are tastier.

My favorite sourdough is an artisanal bread made by a local baker, but I can't tell the difference with wheat bread and vegetables, so I shop at the cheapest place (supermarket).
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It is just common sense to by a fresh local produced steak than a frozen one flown in from New Zealand or something. I doesn't get more logical than this, both quality-, taste- and resourcewise.

No need to invent a special lifestyle around it thoug.

Here in Denmark organic products (wich main feature are that they simply taste better) mix seamlessly in with other products without making a big fuss about it, without the consumer belonging to a certain labelled group. The average consumer wants it, so the market produces it. Capitalism at its best.
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@Weekly: It is not illogical and I don't know where you get your information from.

you said: "I kind of made my point about it being a new-age stand-in for religion with their preposterous dietary regimen. It’s a set of beliefs, a community to belong to, and they tell you what to do. I don’t know what source would help that fact to sink in more."

I'm sure it's not a new-age stand-in for religion; that's just ridiculous. Your statement is hypocritical because you obviously have no problem having your own set of beliefs, a community to belong to, and people telling you what to do, evidence of your cute little Bible quote. I don't know what source would help that fact sink in more.

The real question is, does it affect you? No. Should you be so critical of their diets? No. You have no right. You should be giving them credit for believing in something the mass doesn't, not making fun of them. They're not trying to save the world, and neither are the vegans and vegetarians. It's a personal preference. Nobody shit on your beliefs when you became a Christian. Don't shit on them for doing something different.

"In short these are nothing more than belief systems that don’t actually require affecting any meaningful change. But damn if they don’t make one feel superior. Because that was the goal all along."

You're still talking about yourself, right?

There is a lot more about organics that you obviously don't know, as it is more about they system of growth than it is about raising the prices for profit. Have you ever eaten organic food? It tastes waaay better than commercial food.

And i agree with you about the bottled water thing.. it is just a way for companies to make money. If anyone has a little common sense and they're really scared of their tap water, they can buy a water filter. As far as buying from local farms, I totally support it because the local farmers do a lot more than just provide fresh produce. Besides, they're much nicer to look at than skyscrapers.
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@Holly: Sorry I'm not a Christian, I just found it to be a convenient quote! I don't subscribe to religion for probably the same reasons as you (righteous eating notwithstanding). ;) Anyway, whether you think it's ridiculous or not to compare orthodox eating to religion, maybe you can tell me how these groups are different from religions with their dietary dogma, vague rules for living and sectarian culture?

And I'm sure you believe organic food tastes better -- I mean you invested strongly in that belief, so why wouldn't it? I hear pepper makes food taste better, too. Maybe you've heard of it?

I have no problem with eating healthily, and I'm glad people do; heck, I try to myself. It's when people exercise their lifestyle dogma under the aegis of healthy eating that wrankles me. Yes, you can eat fresh food, you can enjoy organic food if it's what you prefer, but don't act like you're somehow doing the "right" thing just because you decided to martyr yourself in the most token way possible.

That's the illogic I'm talking about. You're thinking with your heart and not with your stomach.

Why can't one find the middle ground without resorting to such an orthodox eating regimen? Why put yourself up on a cross when you sit down to dinner? Maybe one can simply, humbly, eat well without turning it into some kind of crusade, and stop looking for approval and belonging in this quixotic quest for so-called righteous eating.

Why not just shut up and eat?
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We were talking in my history class about the lack of a term for a woman who's lost a child. We have widow, orphan...

I vote making up a word for 2008.
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I agree with Weakly. Holly, you're jumping to conclusions and trying to beat Weakly up because a biblical quote was used. That shows you're not really paying attention to the point, and just looking for something to put down.

I've never heard of a locavore before, Sounds like someone who eats locusts, which would be good, too.

Alex's description makes me wonder if the group does have orthodox eating rituals like a religion or cult. Sounds like the Vegans almost.

It's like the South Park episode where everybody buys an electric car, and create a huge cloud of Smug. They start loving the smell of their own farts. I wonder if the smell of farts from local foods smells any nicer.

You can choose to eat local, or organic, or vegeterian, or healthier food if you want. I just don't see why they need a whole "movement", except maybe to make themselves feel superior.

As for choosing this word, that's just the dictionary trying to appear socially responsible.
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@Weekly: Yea.. sorry.. I feel almost as ridiculous as Hillary should for switching my position so quickly.. But I didn't mean to come off so nastily. It just drives me nuts when people use quotes from the Bible to support their position because it's not a legitimate source. I had to sit through a debate in one of my classes where one of the guys used the Bible as their main argument against gay marriage.. I about jumped out of my seat. But I digress from this apology..

I don't think these peoples' "movement" could be comparable to a religion because they're not really praising anything. It think if you use the same line of logic, any movement in our country's history could be considered religious, but they weren't. It's just another way to bring people together and bring about awareness. It's much harder to voice your opinion when you're in the minority because the majority is supported more. Kudos to them, and thanks for not being an ass-hole back to me. [5 respect points]
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Please will you people get a life !It's about getting good tasting fresh ,FRESH,food locally ,like we used to do .What is wrong with that ? I remember the (OLDEN)days ,when food was fresh DAILY ,it was simply FANTASTIC !I would love to have food like that again !!!
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