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Are You A Locavore?
by By Erin Frustaci
Straight to the Source
High above bins full of heads of lettuce and other fresh produce, oversized pictures of everyday people with wide smiles hang on the wall at Whole Foods Market in Fort Collins. They are the faces of Colorado farmers. And while the posters may sometimes go unnoticed, they are a telling sign of a shift in thinking.

Signs scattered throughout the store, like the one in front of some potatoes and onions, read: "Be Loyal. Buy Local." It's no secret that the demand for organic food has prompted a desire to become a more health-conscious society, but it seems that the trend has been taken a step further.

In fact, the New Oxford American Dictionary's 2007 Word of the Year was "locavore," which means someone who eats locally grown food. The Word of the Year is selected each year to reflect the ethos of the year and its lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.

"The word 'locavore' shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment," said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press in a release. "It's significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way."

However, many northern Colorado residents don't need the dictionary definition to know the meaning behind the word.

Gailmarie Kimmel, director of the Local Living Economy Project, has been at the forefront of the trend of eating locally. For the past two years, she has put together a Be Local Coupon book. In 2006, she also helped create a map of how to eat local, which included contact information for local farmers, restaurants, stores and farmers markets where locally produced items can be found.

"There's a readiness in the culture that is happening across the nation whether it's the health-care system being broken or the obesity problem, our food system is not in good shape; we are not in good shape," Kimmel said. "People are beginning to ask questions ... There's a deeper hunger -- pun intended -- for the community."

Robert Poland, co-owner of Mouco Cheese Co. in Fort Collins, which locally produces soft-ripened cheeses made from other locally produced products, said he couldn't help but notice a huge growth in awareness among consumers over the last year and a half.

"Consumers are realizing the best way to feed themselves and protect the planet is to buy things locally," he said.

Greeley Tribune, January 12, 2008

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