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April 26-May 2, 2006

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Eat Local Month

By Gretchen Giles

According to the fast-growing Locavores group, some 24,000 people daily die worldwide of starvation. But these are not all Third World peoples buffeted by drought and famine. Some of that fatal 24k live and work in what are known as "food deserts"--areas without adequate access to food. Perhaps you've even heard of or visited such food deserts. They're found in California's Central Valley and, um, in Oakland.

Appropriately horrified, Locavores are a group devoted only to eating food grown within a 100-mile radius of their homes, and are dedicated to ending such sere areas of nutrition.

Declaring May to be an "eat local" challenge (these challenges are issued irregularly), the Locavores note that, for the first time in U.S. history, this country imports more food than it exports, and it no longer feed the world. In fact, 90 percent of American family farms are now defunct.

The obvious answer is to shop at farm markets and give up the Spice Road necessities we've grown accustomed to, mostly black pepper, cinnamon, white sugar, coffee, tea, grains . . . yea, verily--the staffs of life. Locavores aren't expecting everyone who tries this challenge to live in a state of agonized purity and deprivation headaches. But if just one meal a day could be entirely locally sourced, that's a massive improvement.

Even the Locavores' pledge is a series of modern-life compromises, but it's a high sight better than senselessly feeding into the factory-farmed corporatization of prepackaged death-food that enlarges the dermis and the heart while weakening the lungs, the legs and the will. Give it a try. We challenge you.

The Pledge of the Locavore
If not locally produced, then organic.
If not organic, then family-farmed.
If not family-farmed, then from a local business.
If not a local business, then fair trade.

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