Commentary: Take the locavore challenge

Photo by Lynne MItchell

Commentary: Take the locavore challenge
July 27
00:00 2017

By Lynne Mitchell

Loca … what?   August marks the 10-year anniversary of the word “locavore” being selected as the 2007 Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year.   

A locavore is a person concerned about where their food comes from and tries to only eat locally grown or produced food. 

What better way to celebrate the anniversary of the word locavore than to have our own Locavore Challenge!  The purpose of this challenge is to raise awareness about where our food comes from.

Can you be a locavore for a meal, an entire day or a week?  When eating out, can you find a restaurant that sources their foods locally?  Locavore food and beverages products include  locally grown vegetables, fruits, grains, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, cheese, baked goods, jams, jellies, fats and oils, salsas, beer, wine and fish caught in lakes, rivers, streams or coastal North Carolina.   You might be wondering … why in the world would somebody want to go to all this trouble?

First of all, buying locally grown foods supports our local economy.  It is estimated that residents of North Carolina spend over $35 billion on food each year. If just 10 percent of North Carolinians food budgets were spent on N.C. grown or produced foods, $3.5 billion would stay in our state economy.  That is a lot of money!

It is good for our health!  The less processed foods you eat, the better. Fruits and vegetables should make up half of our plate at mealtimes, so why not buy local?  Shop at your local Farmers Market or ask the produce manager at the grocery store what they carry that is N.C. grown.  There is no need to buy blueberries from New Jersey in the summer when we grow them right here in N.C.! 

Locally grown meats may cost a little more due to farming practices, but smaller portions of animal proteins on your plate is a good way to go, nutritionally speaking.  Try eating more beans, lentils or nuts for your protein.  Also, try to plan ahead and do more cooking at home with N.C. grown foods.    Eating a healthy diet prevents disease and helps people with chronic health conditions better manage their disease.

Make the challenge fun – ask your family, friends, book club, faith community, or other group to join you in the locavore challenge!  Loop in your social media friends by “checking in” at farmers’ markets, Instagramming (#LocavoreForsyth) your local food finds, and sharing your local experience.   

In celebration of this challenge, the public is invited to join the Locavore Challenge potluck scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 8, 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension Office,1450 Fairchild Road.  Please bring a locavore dish to share. 

You can find more information about the potluck by visiting the Forsyth County website (    

Lynne M. Mitchell MS, RD, LDN is Community Nutritionist with the Forsyth County Department of Public Health ( You can reach her at 336-703-3216 (direct line) or

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