what do you consider “local” to be?

Alright so the foundation is there… we have our goal set in place.  Now a big question to answer for ourselves… what are going to consider local?  One family considered local to be within 125miles from their home, they conducted their experiment for 2 weeks.  J considers local to be centered in the state we are actually residing.  So, J thinks the whole of MI is our local playground for shopping/eating/etc local.  Michigan has an are that is equal to 58,527 sq mi.  That is a lot of local.
World Watch Institute claims, and Sustainable Table supports the claim, that the general consensus on local is within a 100 miles of your home.  Well let’s see… what is 100 miles from our location in MI?  There is a fun website I looked into to answer this question.  Some cities within 100 miles are: Kalamazoo (good thing, this is where our aunt/uncle live – and they are going to be some of our main suppliers of veggies [we hope]), Lansing, South Bend, Flint… going a little further, but not going over 200 miles away is (not complete list): Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, Chicago, Fort Wayne, Detroit, Green Bay, Rockford and Madison.  So we have branched out from MI to Illinois, Wisconsin, Canada, Ohio, Indiana… not too bad.
Many of the growers we see at the Fulton Street Market seem to be under an hour away, so 100miles or less.  It seems as though for them to travel any further away from their home is a waste of money and they may not be considered “local” anymore.  I will have to do a little more research (inquiring) once the market starts back up.  See what growers themselves think about being considered local or not.
Sustainable Table has a good point when considering local… don’t get confused, just because something is grown/made locally doesn’t mean it is grown/made sustainably.  Like the site states, don’t be afraid to ask your grower how they grow their produce… or make their product – I will make sure to ask ours.  Also it states start small (hey that is what we are doing with only picking one meal a day to start).  Pick a product you want to start buying locally, the site suggests veggies, and then go for it!!  Once you have a habit of doing something you can start adding on other products.
I think for our family we are going to try to stick to local as in less than 100 miles away, unless absolutely we need something (like noodles, or sauce, or whatever) and cannot find a local source, we may then branch out to the less than 200 mile radius.  I hope we don’t have to go further than that.  I mean come on…  Wisconsin is within the 200 mile radius and they have cheese… WE LOVE CHEESE!!

Alright…  we have defined our local area… our goal!  What do you believe local to be??  I know I only have 6 people following the blog… but perhaps one might answer the question!!!  😉


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Sherrie said,

    Well i believe that local means within your reach,so for me its less than 10 miles as my store is Frys..They just started a outdoor market about five blocks from me but due to heat they are shutting down in June. I try Bountiful Baskets, but they are not local growers, \

    • 2

      BloodFamily said,

      Mom, have you looked into CSA, is there one in Peoria? I know the Flagstaff CSA is supported by valley growers, one is on 99th ave. Check it out. THat would be local for you. Not too far away, and I don’t think Fry’s buys local produce… but not sure.

  2. 3

    Dave said,

    Personally, I’m not hung up on “local” but I am most pleased to support producers from my state. In the midwest, our states’ images and jobs are at a low, so I’d consider using the state lines, and perhaps cross those lines to an adjacent state if you’re near a border and it’s the only convenient “local” product.

    Why not be practical, and choose the nearest-produced example of a given product that’s convenient for you to acquire? My understanding is that you’re already considering visiting 3 markets or grocers… if you do that, you’re making an extraordinary effort to find local products. Use any extra energy to discover how far away those ostensibly local (state/midwest) products actually are. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

    • 4

      BloodFamily said,

      It isn’t our goal to visit 3 grocers… we want to center on one starting May 5th – the Fulton Street Market. Which means we’ll have to go on artisan days, Sat I believe, to look for producers of pastas/breads/etc. However I don’t want to set us up for faliure right away if THAT market doesn’t have what we are looking for – or we can’t afford what we are looking for, I want there to be some fall back. So Ken’s Fruit Market is our back up. I have checked the products we buy there regularly and they are generally local (like juice, some sauces, Jiffy mix, etc), or close to MI (Ohio, Wisconsin, etc) – and affordable. Ken’s prides itself on bringing in as much local as possible.
      I understand what you are saying though. Why not check out if the products that claim “local” status are actually local… put time and effort there. I am sure as we move through this experiment that is something we’ll learn.
      By shopping at Ken’s we have adjusted our juice choices. Ken’s carries a MI made juice, Old Orchard – we buy that now. Ken’s also carries Jiffy mixes, also MI made product. This will be a process… hopefully a fun one! 🙂 thanks for your response, it is exciting to know someone actually read what we wrote and researched!!!

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