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What Does Locavore Mean To You?

Buzz Poole
02/19/2013 - 06:11
via The Perennial Plate

The word "locavore" is tossed around a lot these days, like organic microgreens in a seasonal salad. Restaurants that want to be known for sourcing local, seasonal products go to great lengths to describe the heritage of the poultry, the diets of its pork and cattle, the lineage of its produce, and the origins of the seafood. The television show Portlandia cleverly spoofs this whole notion in the skit "Is It Local?" in which the two main characters visit the farm to make sure the chicken they are planning on eating was raised humanely.

Eating local, sustainable, seasonal food is important and the growing number of farmers markets that run year round make it easier and easier to eat this way without breaking the bank. I'm spoiled in that I live within walking distance of the only year-round farmers market in Queens. But the same as the Portlandia characters take the local aspect of their eating to an extreme, some of the local goods churned out by industrious urban folks are silly with pretension and frightfully expensive. I have seen $14 chocolate bars and $12 jars of pickles. I understand why certain specialty foods are expensive, and oftentimes they are quite delicious, but such costs do not make for a sustainable way to eat, unless money is not an issue for you.

Of course, the locavore movement is a laughable notion to people steeped in the traditions of agrarian societies, as the visually stunning and genuinely interesting collaboration between Adventure Center partner Intrepid Travel and The Perennial Plate reveals. Founded by Daniel Kline and Mirra Fine, The Perennial Plate started as a documentary food series about a year of eating in Minnesota and has expanded its interests into the international arena for its third season, working with Intrepid Travel and its Food Adventures. The resulting films - billed as "adventures in sustainable eating" - not only make you want to hop on a plane for a meal, but they tell some incredible stories about how all over the world long-standing traditions of food persist today, even in light of, or in some cases because of, twenty-first century implications, like in the latest installment about saving seeds in India.

Every episode is worth watching, but for me this season has two highlights so far. The Traveler's Republic of Tofu really gets to the heart of the project's mission through examining the farming practices of a remote Chinese village; for pure viewing bliss, there is nothing not to like about A Day In India.

Watch all the short films and check out Intrepid's Food Adventures, which this week are 20% off.

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