The Anthropology Senior Seminar course I am teaching at UMD is focusing on local food and sustainability. A few weeks ago we had a class meal prepared by students with local ingredients. We had a lively debate about what qualifies as local and why it is important to eat locally.
Definitions of local vary–Whole Foods Co-op uses 300-miles as a benchmark. Some of the Twin Cities coops allow anything that comes from a five state area (Minnesota and the states that touch it) to count as local. Other local grocery stores are using the term, too, though I’m not sure what criteria they are using. Other definitions are more restrictive.
What about a PDD definition? What counts as local food?
Local food usually means small to mid-scale production, requiring more human labor, but less fossil fuel–that means more jobs, but also potentially higher costs. How willing are you to spend a little extra money for locally produced foods? How much extra?
I’m going to have more questions about these topics as I’m currently involved in several research projects along these lines, but that’s enough for now.
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