Thursday, July 9, 2009

LOCAVORE \ˈlō-kə-ˌvȯr\ - Webster Catches Up to Oxford, Wiki

Sometimes I get a blank stare when I tell friends and colleagues that my blog is called "Lighthearted Locavore" -- then, I say "carnivore",pause, "herbivore", pause for another second and then get a resounding "oh yeah 'locavore' -- I get it -- your a local food eater!" Then, I go on to explain what "locavore" means, mention that it was Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year in 2007... you get the idea.

This week the word "LOCAVORE" got another step up in linguistics of local foodie-ism, when Webster's Dictionary published the new edition with the word locavore along side other words that are a sign of more sustainable and pocketbook friendly times such as "staycation" (a stay at home vacation), "green-collar" (in reference to environmentally friendly jobs; analogous to "blue-collar", "white-collar" or "pink-collar"); carbonfootprint (the negative impact somebody has on the environment).

The definition is brief (and lighthearted) on the list of new words on Merrian Webster Collegiate Dictionary Website (note the use of "whenever possible" - no mention of 100-mile diets, food fanaticism or local fundamentalist politics)
* Main Entry: lo·ca·vore
* Pronunciation: \ˈlō-kə-ˌvȯr\
* Function: noun
* Etymology: local + -vore (as in carnivore)
* Date: 2005
: one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible
* Main Entry: light·heart·ed
* Pronunciation: \-ˌhär-təd\
* Function: adjective
* Date: 15th century

1 : free from care, anxiety, or seriousness : happy-go-lucky
2 : cheerfully optimistic and hopeful : easygoing

Are you a locavore and don't know it?
Read more about locavores, locavorism -- fundamentalist and lighthearted alike.
  • Local Food on Wiki uses locavores and localvores to describe people who eat food grown in their local food shed/local food system.
  • The New York Times has several more articles featuring the word "Locavore" in the headline.
  • "Locavore Get Your Gun" (Dec. 7, 2007) about deer hunting in New York (grass-fed, free-range, organic, antibiotic hormone-free and LOCAL deer).
  • And, the controversial article and follow up piece - with nearly 300 comments mostly from outraged locavores -- by Steve Dubner of Freakonomics fame "Do We Really Need a Few Billion Locavores?" (June 8, 2008) about his family's incompetent and ridiculous attempt at making sherbet at home in New York City with oranges from Florida (?) and food coloring (from a lab in New Jersey) that is supposed to be an argument against buying, prepare and eating local food. (Disclosure: his wife and I used to be good friends in the 70's and 80's. Dubner admitted his total lack of logic with this argument in a follow up piece).
  • The beloved William Safire's article "Locavorism" (Oct. 9, 2008) addresses the etymology and origins of the word:
"The coiner is Jessica Prentice, who had left a job at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco to write a book about “food and the hunger for connection.” While working on that, she decided to urge people in the Bay Area to eat local food for a month; Olivia Wu, a food writer for The Chronicle, challenged her to come up with a name for what Prentice had been calling the nearby foodshed, I presume on the analogy of “watershed.” She promptly melded the Latin locus, “place,” with vorare, “swallow, devour” and (gulp!) there was locavore, the noun that became the Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year for 2007. "
  • And, of course, The New York Times' own City Room Blog Roll features none other than my blog, Lighthearted Locavore, permanently on its homepage
All the New York Times food and food policy writers are using "locavore" and often without the quotes (Kim Severson, Frank Bruni, Mark Bittman, Marrion Burros, Andrew Martin)

Many others have written feature articles on Lovavores: Business Week, Time and Food and Wine "How to Eat Like a Locavore" (Feb. 2007) included.


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