The local food movement has gained so much steam that the practice has coined a new term — “locavores” are people who go out of their way to eat food locally grown or locally produced. One widely publicized example is California residents Alisa Smith and James Mackinnon, who in 2005 embarked on the 100-mile diet, pledging for a full year to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius of their home.
Now, they say they don’t necessarily recommend the experiment and instead encourage people to try out an occasional 100-mile meal or something else less daunting. Not everything Smith and Mackinnon love could be found within 100 miles (olives, chocolate and beer were three of their most-missed items), but they learned to love new foods, began to eat seasonally, and because they ate nothing but the freshest and ripest foods, the two say that some meals were the best they ever had.
Plus, because they bought from local farmers and producers, any money they spent on food directly returned to their local economy.
Renewed interest in both conserving energy and knowing where food comes from has given rise to the farmers markets cropping up all over Dallas. Mockingbird Station at Central Expressway and Mockingbird hosted one in the spring and hopes to bring it back this fall; another neighborhood farmers market takes place the second Saturday of every month at Green Spot, an independent convenience store and gas station at Buckner and Lake Highlands Drive.
“Certainly, the trend is for more and more local,” says Green Spot owner Bruce Bagelman. “A lot of people worry about how far something has to travel to get to a store and energy it uses,” plus, they want to “support people in the community rather than buying something that comes halfway around the world.”
These are the reasons Whole Foods, for example, prides itself on selling local products. Its definition of “local” includes only products that have traveled less than a day (seven hours or fewer by car or truck) to its stores.
For Green Spot, “local” extends across the metro area, everything from cookies made by neighborhood resident Paul Wackym, known as The Baker Man, to spices and sorbets from Arlington. When Bagelman began counting the number of local products stocked on the Green Spot’s shelves, he was surprised to find more than 20.
“The whole idea when we started out was to have a healthy convenience store for people who wanted to grab something to eat on the go, and the emphasis was always bringing in local products from beverages to food items,” Bagelman says.
“In March, we started selling fresh produce with the idea that we would bring in as much local produce as we could, and now we have the White Rock Local Market.”
At the initial event in June, Bagelman says the crowd was huge, and many of the 22 vendors sold out of their products early in the day. He expects the market to continue growing in coming months.
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