The Benefits, Challenges, and Strategies of Adults Following a Local Food Diet
by Carmen Bykera, Nick Roseb, and Elena Serranoc
http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2010.011.013, pp. 125–137
Supported in part by a variety of popular books, websites, and other media, the interest in local food is building dramatically, and a growing number of people are increasing their purchases of local food. This paper describes a study that explored the perceived benefits and challenges of following a diet consisting exclusively of local food in southwestern Virginia, as well as the strategies for coping with its limitations. Nineteen individuals participated in a four-week Local Food Diet Challenge, which included eating only foods produced from within 100 miles of the participants’ homes. Part of a larger study looking at the nutritional impacts of a local food diet, this study included a pre-diet questionnaire that gathered participants’ demographic characteristics, shopping patterns, eating behaviors, and attitudes toward local foods; consumption-reporting forms during the diet period; and a post-diet focus-group discussion for participants to share their experiences in following the local food diet. In this paper we report the major themes that emerged in the focus groups and offer recommendations for locavores and organizations attempting to maximize local food consumption.
Keywords: 100-mile diet, local food, sustainable food system, focus group, locavores
Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.
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