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Agriculture Today

Are you a locavore?

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Wilson County News
June 8, 2011 | 3,251 views | Post a comment

With the economy tightening everyone’s belts, many people are spending their time -- and money -- closer to home. This has made more people aware of the products and services available in their own back yards. That’s great news for the locavore movement. Locavores are “people who pay attention to where their food comes from and commit to eating local food as much as possible,” according to Jennifer Maiser, in an article on www.pbs.org.

In Wilson County, consumers wishing to purchase fresh produce and other products raised nearby can check out the products at the Floresville Locavore-sponsored Farmers and Growers Markets in June.

In 2008, Shannon Davenport started a website to promote local products -- whether organically or conventionally grown -- known then as “The Local Food List.” This project has grown from the Local Food Project and is known today as the Floresville Locavore.

Davenport’s website, http://thefloresvillelocavore.com, is a “work in progress” that includes contact information for area resources.

“The site has no advertising and no one pays any kinds of fees,” Davenport said. “It is really a community-service effort created to help people in our area find the local food resources they need to advocate for our local growers and farmers.”

“At the moment our primary plans are the market in June each Saturday,” Davenport said. “This market was put together four years ago in an effort to give home growers and small farmers an outlet for their overflowing gardens. Gardeners often find themselves burdened by bounty this time of year and an outlet like a farmers market allows them to share their surplus crops with the public, as well as get said surplus off their own shelves.”

This group is part of a growing movement of local produce markets. Andrew Gunther, program director for Animal Welfare Approved, wrote in an editorial “that local produce markets have increased by 16 percent last year.” Gunther, using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, estimates that farmers markets across the nation gained $1.5 billion in 2010, with approximately 6,132 markets across the nation. “More than 3 million Americans regularly buy food from the more than 60,000 farmers who sell at these markets each year,” he said.

While most farmers markets offer assorted vegetables, fruit, and canned versions of produce grown locally, the Floresville Locavore also includes vendors of meat products.

“Over the past four years, the market has grown from not only including home gardeners but also farmers, as well as meat producers,” Davenport said.

Other growers and producers are welcome to join the Locavore group.

“People do not have to have a farm or ranch to be listed,” Davenport said. “We have several listings of people who just have back-yard chickens and are willing to sell their eggs.”

“It is the willingness to sell to the community one member at a time that really sets off the growers and producers listed on the website,” Davenport said. Categories on the site include grass-fed beef; pasture-raised pork, poultry, and other raised meat; farm-fresh eggs, produce, fruits, and nuts; raw milk; and other area products, such as jelly, skin-care products, and more.

The site is not limited to growers in Wilson County; growers from Schulenburg and Hondo are also listed.

“We are happy to include new participants,” Davenport said. “All they need to do is contact me for the details.”

Davenport’s website also includes “Grow Local Food” that focuses on “gardening advice and observations.” Davenport “decided to add it to assist those who have expressed interest in trying to grow some of their own ‘local food.’”

For more information, call 830-393-8269, e-mail Shannon@TheFloresvilleLocavore.com, or visit www.TheFloresvilleLocavore.com .

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