Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

locavore or localvore

noun [countable]

a person who only eats food which is grown or produced locally

'Since eating locally was all the rage in 2007, forage for an edible basket of Ontario (or at least Canadian) goodies for the locavore in your life …'

Toronto Star 20th December 2007

'One of the ways many people are supporting the environment is by becoming a localvore, at least as much as they can, trying to eat foods grown and produced as close to home as possible.'

Portsmouth Herald, USA 27th June 2007

You're in the UK, sitting down to what looks like a conventional meal of fish and steamed vegetables. But take a minute to consider the collective distance the component parts might have travelled before reaching your plate. New potatoes from Ireland, organic carrots from Spain, green beans from Kenya, and salmon fillet from … Scotland? Well, no, Norway, actually. If you're suddenly consumed by guilt because the resulting number of food miles equates to a round-the-world ticket, then maybe you should consider becoming a locavore.

arguing that fresh, locally-produced food is more nutritious and tastes better, the locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers' markets or even grow their own food

The new noun locavore (also sometimes localvore), refers to a person who prefers to eat food which is grown or produced locally. By 'locally', a locavore usually means very close to home or within a particular distance of where they live, generally no more than a 100-mile radius. Arguing that fresh, locally-produced food is more nutritious and tastes better, the locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers' markets or even grow their own food. Locavores are also keen to emphasize the environmental benefits of sourcing food locally, i.e. cutting or eliminating the cost of transportation and its related use of fuels, packaging and other non-renewable resources.

Fellow locavores can share tips and provide inspiration to one another on a dedicated website locavores.com.

Closely associated with the word locavore is the expression 100-Mile Diet, which similarly refers to the buying and eating of food grown or produced strictly within a 100-mile radius of the consumer. This expression is based on an experiment undertaken by Canadian authors Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon, who for one year sourced all their food and drink within a 100-mile radius of their apartment in Vancouver.

Background – locavore

In connection with World Environment Day, the noun locavore was coined in 2005 by Jessica Prentice, a professional chef and author from San Francisco.

The term is of course a blend of local and -vore, modelled on nouns such as carnivore (a human/animal that eats meat) and herbivore (an animal that only eats plants). The productive suffix -vore is derived from related adjectival suffix -vorous meaning 'feeding on a specified food'. Following the model of carnivorous, there is already some evidence for a related adjective locavorous. The noun locavorism is also sometimes used to describe the practice itself.

Though locavore has only been around for a couple of years, it has gained some exposure in a climate of growing concern about healthy eating and eco-sensitive lifestyles. It follows in the footsteps of related expressions such as slow food and food miles, and at the end of 2007 was chosen as word of the year by editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 4th February 2008.

Open Dictionary

dead white (European) male

a man … whose achievements may have been overestimated because he belonged to the gender and ethnic group … that was dominant at the time

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog

Word of the Day

threadbare

threadbare clothing, carpet, or cloth is very thin and almost has holes in it because it has been...