As the locavore movement grows bigger & bigger everyday, I feel it's important to explain the difference between a local business & a locavore business. In my culinary adventures, from TN, AL, MS, and FL, I have found that sometimes, it's hard to differentiate between these two, because they are so closely related. But there are some differences that need pointing out. In 2008, Congress passed H.R.2419, which amended the "Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act". In the amendment "locally" and "regionally" are grouped together. This means the term local food refers to any product that has been produced & traveled less than 400 miles. However, most experts in the culinary field will agree that local & regional are 2 separate categories. Regional is within 400 miles & local is within 100 miles. For this explanation, we will be looking at food based businesses. I do support everyone out their trying to make an honest living. This is not intended to be taken as anyone is doing anything wrong. My hope is to clarify the differences between these 2 types of business models, so that you the consumer can make the best possible choices when it comes to you & your family.
A Local Business is a locally owned & operated establishment. They purchase the majority of their products from a corporate vendor, such as Sysco or US Foods, then make their products in house & sell them to the public. They may or may not be using a small percentage of local products to produce their product. They are also less likely to advertise where they are getting their supplies from because they are coming from a generic corporate vendor. This means we have to be prepared to ask the right questions, to determine where the supplies are coming from. Oftentimes this type of local establishment will mistakenly see other local businesses as their competition & thus they will shy away from showing their support, out of fear that their product will become inferior. Or they have been doing it the same way for so long that they fear changing over to local will alter their product in some way.
A Locavore Business is also locally owned & operated (with the exception of some national companies, such as Whole Foods & Chipotle Mexican Grill, which have corporate policies that state each store much purchase locally produced foods, whenever possible). They are purchasing a certain percentage of their products from other local vendors, like breads from a local bakery to make their sandwiches, or eggs from a local farm to make baked goods. By using local products, they are putting money back into the local economy. Typically you will find, other locally produced products for sale, on their shelves. Ultimately, this type of business naturally creates a community of support. And they are willing to offer a broader array of local items because of their love for their community. It's easier for us to determine where their products are coming from because they are proud of what they are doing. Their products typically tastes better & are better for us because they are using more locally produced ingredients. They are more sustainable & more likely to be using recycled products, which will keep the earth green.
In my opinion, Locavore Businesses are "doing it right." And these are the ones we feature & frequent the most. I am by no means, against Local Businesses, that would just be silly. Of course, I am thrilled they are here. But I find it easier & prefer to frequent those they lean more towards the locavore movement. And there are many ways that this movement can be carried out. These definitions are subject to be altered, as we learn more about the way folks are choosing to run their businesses now-a-days. And I will revise these as needed.