Monday, October 29, 2007

Definition of Local

OK, I'll admit I'm now confused by the definition of local. I've been trying to stick to within 100 miles, but I've been doing those as driving miles. I've looked at a number of local food webpages lately and they all do the 100 miles as the crow flies. Doing it this way, here is my local foodshed.

Well poo, blogger won't let me load the picture because it is a pdf, I'll keep trying to get it into another form, but anyway, if you do it by how the crow flies, my 100 miles goes past DC and Harrisburg, both of which are over 200 mile drives.

So what do you think? Should we got by driving distance or flying distance? My 100 miles becomes a lot bigger if I go by flying distance. And then if I extend that to 220 miles as some local groups go by I could eat half the east coast!

I try to get as close to me as possible, but for some things like grains going by how the crow flies I may be able to find "local" sources for these things.


Angie said...

Hi Christy - in my opinion, as long as you are trying your best to buy as much of your food as possible in any kind of radius, whether it's how the crow flies or driving miles, you're doing well. The fact that you are worried about the exact miles is fantastic and shows how much you care about eating locally.

You have no idea how many people I meet through our CSA and our Farmer's Markets who have never even considered thinking about food that's made down the road from them until they join our CSA and we try to 'educate' them on the process.

I guess this was a long way to say, pat yourself on the back for worrying about it! I love your website and look forward to reading often.

Have a great day.

Wendy said...

I use the "as the crow flies" distance and only go 100 miles, but I do allow for anything in the state of Maine, and unfortunately, there are many places in Maine that are more than 100 miles - by either definition.

I think you should decide what you're most comfortable with. Afterall, it really is all about you :), and how you feel about where your food comes from.

Incidentally, I think you're doing a fantastic job of keeping it local, and if everyone would do half of what you do ... well, we'd all be a lot closer to our food, for sure :).

Howling Hill said...

I agree with Angie and Wendy. Both have great suggestions.

What seeds did you pick?

Anonymous said...

I use driving miles, because it makes more sense to me. I actually drive those 36 (Eric says 41) miles one way to that dairy. To me it's just a more tangible definition. It's more "real" if you would. But I'm also willing to buy anything in my state if my only other alternative is California.

But the others are right, you have to come to terms with what you feel comfortable with.

Melinda said...

So glad you brought it up - I've been thinking about this lately as well!

Complicating matters more, I've been thinking about a few more factors:

1. If I buy fresh produce from a produce stand, shouldn't I factor in the miles it took to get the produce to the stand (via truck, train, etc), in addition to the miles it took me to get it home?

2. Technically 100 miles for us includes areas south of San Francisco, and into the Central Valley. It would take a truck as much as 4-5 hours to get it up here, often idling in terrible traffic. That seems like way more of an impact than 100 miles would in other areas of the country.

I guess we just have to try to get food as local as possible. I've started thinking about ways to grow more of our own food in our backyard, frequenting roadside farm stands, and sticking to our county as much as possible. Not much more we can do, than to be as conscientious as we can!

Christy said...

Thanks for the input everyone. I've been trying to do 100 driving miles so I will stick to that. However, if something is over 100 driving miles but within 100 flying miles I won't feel guilty about it.

Melinda - I've been counting the miles from where the food is grown but you have a good point. My CSA is a certain distance from my house but I pick my box up at the natural foods store which is another distance from my house. I should really add those 2 distances together. Everything else I get where it is produced so my miles are accurate on those.