The Splendid Table Locavore Nation Participants Report Ability to Fulfill 57 Percent of Food Needs Locally
(St. Paul, Minn.) April 16, 2008—First-quarter results for The Splendid Table® Locavore Nation, a one-year qualitative research study on eating sustainably, reveal 14 out of 15 participants are maintaining a local/regional diet at least 45 percent of the time and the overall average for the 14 was 57 percent. One of the members made the 80 percent goal.
Although a few participants in rural or northern areas of the country expressed frustration over price and fewer sources for fresh produce in winter, surprisingly, cost was not a factor for most and healthier, more conscientious eating habits were reported as a tangible benefit.
The group was selected by The Splendid Table in December 2007 from more than 5,000 initial applicants to explore the obstacles or ease of maintaining a local/regional diet. Produced and distributed by American Public Media,™ The Splendid Table is public radio's only national program exploring the many dimensions of food.
The criteria the group agreed to meet was to average 80 percent of food items purchased or obtained from organic local/regional sources within 50 to 500 miles of their homes. Spices are exempt. The group also keeps food journals to measure progress and note difficulties, resources and local trends. Most are adhering to a 100-mile distance for purchases.
"Hitting 40 percent would be amazing during winter for almost anyone in the U.S.," according to Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of The Splendid Table. "The group surpassed all our expectations."
The Locavore Nation participants, who represent a national geographic and demographic mix, write about their experiences on The Splendid Table Web site at www.splendidtable.org.
Difficulties experienced by the group include: narrowing the amount of variety in their diets; seasonal sacrifices such as no berries in winter; eliminating tropical fruits; driving long distances to find suppliers; taking time to learn about sources; and cooking from scratch. Non-local foods most report buying are organic coffee, special fruits, wine, chocolate and, for some, staples like flour and sugar.
Only two expressed pessimism about the Locavore movement and knowing where food is produced. The first was concerned about cultural elitism and affordability for those on a poverty level. The second was troubled that the movement may obscure more major issues, such as global warming and genetically modified plants (GMO), unaddressed by U.S. government policy.
The remainder of the participants expressed optimism and pleasure at the strong support they get from friends, family and others adopting sustainable lifestyles. Some were touched by the positive experiences of interacting with and learning from their farmer/suppliers. They also believe they are supporting their communities and farm economies strongly by purchasing locally.
Participants agreed to the stringent diet out of concern about industrialized food production methods in the U.S. potentially affecting the nutritional quality of food and other health-related issues from E-coli and salmonella contamination to obesity.
The Splendid Table also assists those confused about making good choices in a new book, How to Eat Supper.
Updates on Locavore Nation progress will be issued quarterly. A final report, focusing on regional issues and findings, will be released in January 2009. For details about individual results, contact Kathleen Davies at 651-605-5172 or Kdavies94@msn.com.
About The Splendid Table
Produced and distributed by American Public Media™ in Saint Paul, Minn., The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle one-hour program that celebrates the intersection of food and life. Each week, The Splendid Table's Lynne Rossetto Kasper leads public radio audiences on a journey of the senses and leads discussions with a variety of writers and personalities who share their passion for the culinary delights.