MICHAEL A. HAEDICKE
Drake University, USA
The term locavore refers to a person who mainly or exclusively eats locally produced foods. This term and the related concept of locavorism gained traction in popular culture and in food activist communities in the early twenty-first century. Culturally, locavorism is often framed as a form of ethical consumer resistance to the control of food by transnational corporations, as well as a personally rewarding activity. However, locavorism in practice highlights some of the limitations and contradictions of consumer-based social change efforts.
While locavorism is a recently minted word, the idea of local eating as a virtuous consumer choice has a longer history. In his classic The Unsettling of America (1977), the agrarian writer Wendell Berry inveighed against the “estrangement of consumer and producer,” which he blamed on the specialized and production-oriented character of modern industrial agriculture and food policy (p. 37). More recently, critics of globalization, such as Slow Food Movement founder Carlo Petrini, have promoted local eating as a way to preserve regional food cultures in a global economy. Locavorism has also figured prominently in the work of popular food writers. In The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan described his efforts to create a family meal by hunting and foraging for food in the San Francisco Bay area. The novelist Barbara Kingsolver and the Canadian writers Alisa ...