Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Locavore Group Forming In Ojai

By Sondra Murphy
Joanne and Kristofer Young have decided to change their eating habits for one year and they are inviting others in the area to join them. The Youngs are hoping to start an Ojai locavore group to eat foods produced within a 100-mile radius of home for the 2009 calendar year.
Locavore is a newly established word meaning to eat locally produced food. The New Oxford American Dictionary chose it as its 2007 word of the year. Locavores limit their foods to in-season produce and regional products and encourage each other to grow food and share harvests.
The Youngs call this project “Eat Local One Year –– Be the Change Ojai.” Kristofer Young is an Ojai chiropractor and Joanne Young is a massage therapist, so maintaining the health of the body is as important to them as maintaining the health of the environment our bodies inhabit.
“We as a society are pretty much accustomed to non-local, non-seasonal food. The average distance food travels from the farm to the plate is about 1,500 miles,” said Joanne Young. “If every U.S. citizen just ate one meal a week of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we could reduce our oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels each week.”
“What’s wonderful is that there is an enormous amount of interest already,” said Kristofer Young. “One of the things that we think is quite obvious is that there are a lot of people here in Ojai who are very involved in local and organic food.” He added that becoming a locavore locavore is another way for people to stretch themselves a little farther in their efforts to help reduce global warming.
Reading Barbara Kingsolver’s non-fiction book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” inspired the Youngs to change the way they looked at meals. Kingsolver relates her family’s experience eating off the land for a year and how it impacted her perspective as a consumer.
The Youngs said that people could participate in a variety of ways, such as choosing to eat one local fare meal per week, month or year. “People could join this group to share meals and an understanding of what grows here locally,” said Kristofer Young. “We have no idea what may come out of this.”
“Or the challenges, I’m sure,” Joanne Young tacked on. “We don’t think of this as a sacrifice, but a joy and gift we give our children and the earth.”
The Youngs hope Eat Local One Year will attract people who yearn to directly perceive the impacts that daily changes can create and think the formation of the group will result in recipe sharing, potlucks and harvest parties.
Friends will be making a documentary of the efforts and membership is not limited to Ojai residents. The Youngs are already planning to throw a locavore New Year’s bash to kick off the year.
The Youngs will hold an organizational meeting on May 10 at 7 p.m. for people wishing to get involved with the preparation and process of eating locally. They said they are still learning about food sources in their consumer zone and hope people will use the meeting as a cooperative starting point.
There are ground rules and each participant may select three food exceptions to include on their menu choices, such as coffee, brown rice or bananas. Medication and dietary supplements are automatically exempt.
To register for the May meeting, go to groups.google.com/group/eat-local-one-year or call 640-7629.

No comments: