Expanding the Boundaries of “Local”

We’re fortunate that local food here on the Seacoast enjoys the enthusiastic support of a community of talented chefs — Evan Hennessey, chef and co-owner of Flavor Concepts, and long-time advocate for sourcing locally, offers these thoughts on knowing where your food comes from:

The boundaries of “local”

I recently had an interesting discussion with friends about the word local. It is the newest trendy word in food and nutrition. What does it really mean? Do you put a mile marker on it? Is it only local if it is within 50 miles, 100 miles, etc.? Is it only local if it is from your state? This can get complicated as the size of each state varies greatly.

The point of buying local is to support our local economy. However, what about other communities that practice sustaining farming but are considered outside of our local area? I recently made some friends who own a farm in upstate New York. They say that local is more of a state of mind and not necessarily about geographic location. Take, for example, Noma in Denmark. Their philosophy is that cuisine is about what’s available right here, right now. Their food is called Nordic cuisine, meaning food coming from the Nordic region. This consists of several different countries.

The meaning of all this is to just to know where your food comes from. Think less about the trendy buzz word of the moment and think about the bigger picture. Knowing what’s available in the area you live in and learning about the practices of the producers will make you a better consumer.

— Evan Hennessey, Flavor Concepts

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