I've been on the road, in part to join an extraordinary food related conference (about which more later), but wanted to link to Kim Severson's page one story in the Times today on businesses catering to people who want to eat locally (such as a gardening service hired to plant, weed, tend and harvest your backyard vegetable garden). Is it a matter of fashion, as Corby Kummer suggests?  Would that be wrong even if the result is good?  What will the actual impact of semi-locavore living be and what does this current trend portend?  I don't know.  Regardless, though, the locavore ethic continues to grow.

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53 Wonderful responses to “Locavore Fashion”

  • milo

    Not to mention that in many parts of the country, even when you do have a farmers market or CSA available, it only runs five or six months of the year. Local is a great goal, but for many people it’s definitely not easy.

  • P.

    In response to nondiregol:

    “And who doesn’t have a farmers market you can walk to?”

    Are you serious? LOTS of people don’t.

  • (Pastry) Chef Suzy

    PS: This is a quote from an article I just received from on online ezine for, amongst others – Big Food professionals. This is why and how Whole Foods turned into “Whole Paycheck”. To wit:

    “According to research from The Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus, the average supermarket shopper is willing to pay a premium price for locally produced foods.

    We suspected people who go to farmers’ markets go there for a reason, because they are willing to pay more, hunt it down and travel there. But we also found that the typical shopper in a retail grocery store is willing to pay more, as well. And in fact, we’re seeing that grocery stores are figuring this out by prominently labeling locally produced food,” Batte said. ***“So we were trying to see if that group of people who shop at retail groceries are willing to pay X amount, and determine what that amount is.”*** For complete details, see the press release on the OSU website.”

    Yup – they’re trying to see how much profit there is to be made by the major retailers tapping into this trend for for the consumer to try and feel like a good person by being a “locavore”.

    Think about this the next time you pay $5 lb for green vegetables in season, or buy Wal-Mart “Organics” (Made in Mexico, to Mexico’s standards for “organic” – which is how that e.coli got into Flay’s beloved serranos

  • (Pastry) Chef Suzy

    Brought to you by the American Cheese Council (a paid ad in the left-hand margin of Ruhlman.com)

    “Three servings of cheese a day!” (…that’s all we ask…)

    (Mmmm-mmm! Says to “serve with grilled sausages and mimosas” – so you get in your daily liquor and hog fat requirement met too – all in one meal! The photos in the real ad are to yummy looking to be missed. I’d suggest that you click-through at your first opportunity…)

    (PS: Why does she bother to specify “fat-free milk” in a recipe that includes 2lbs of cheese, a whole loaf of bread and 12 eggs – OMG! – and an entire stick of butter!!!)

    “CityMama’s 3-A-Day™ of Dairy: Weekend Recipe
    Special Meal: Asparagus-Fontina Breakfast Bundt

    It’s the weekend and, in my house, that can only mean one thing: Sunday brunch with friends. Brunch is one of our favorite ways to spend time with friends. If they have kids even better because the kids can play together while they are fresh (and in good moods) and no one has to rush off to put kids to bed. Adults can relax and catch up, kids are off playing-it’s my idea of the perfect end to the weekend and a sure cure for the Sunday blues.

    The breakfast bundt makes brunch even more hassle free because you make it the night before, stick it in the fridge, and then bake it the next morning. Sausages, fresh fruit and mimosas complete the meal. I adapted this recipe from one my friend Alisyn Cobb makes.

    photos: Stefania Pomponi Butler

    ASPARAGUS- FONTINA BREAKFAST BUNDT

    12 beaten eggs
    a loaf of cubed soft French bread
    a pound of grated Fontina (or whatever cheese you like)
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    a bunch of blanched/sliced asparagus (you can also use other vegetables or ham/prosciutto or a combination)
    1/2-1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk
    salt and pepper

    Combine all ingredients above and pack into a bundt pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

    Just before baking slowly pour 1 stick of melted butter over all. Bake at 350º for 45 mins.

    Would you like a slice? You know you want it…

    Serve the bundt with fresh berries, grilled sausages, and mimosas made with fresh-squeezed orange juice”

  • (Pastry) Chef Suzy

    Hey Sztern and Claudia and Tags – long time no see!

    This “Locavore” thing that Pollan has stirred up has really gone over the top now.

    I grew up in Berkeley, where Pollan lives, and I live 10 mins. away still (having been long ago priced out of Pollan’s immediate neighborhood).

    I recently was in the midst of researching the availability of stalls at our local Bay Area farmer’s markets – including the much-touted SF Ferry Bldg. market – to sell my own artisanal chocolate truffle ganache in jars, which is made from local, family owned Guittard chocolate (Scharffenberger having long ago sold out to Nestle, and Ghirardelli to Hershey – or is it the other way around(?), and local Straus Family Dairy products.

    Anyhoo: Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, other parts of SF – these markets are all run by co-ops, and the stalls are available and very reasonably priced (appx.$40 per day), and all products are carefully vetted to assure their authenticity and local sources.

    The Ferry Bldg. Market however, has a website which says to the prospective vendor “We only choose who WE want, if you are asking to be allowed in you weren’t already invited, you can pretty much forget it.”.

    The local press has been lately been quite critical – and rightly so – that the SF Ferry Bldg. Farmer’s Market has become nothing more than an overpriced, over commercialized tourist attraction along the lines of Fisherman’s Wharf, and that no real chef – pro or otherwise – would even bother to go there anymore.

    Gee: Does anyone even remember “Molecular Gastronomy” anymore? It’s SO last-week.

  • nika

    Milo,

    I agree completely re: people apparently undertsanding it all so little that they think it requires a specialist.

    Many people think that their failures to grow tropical plants indoors (of all places) means they can not grow food outside. They also assume that their small outdoor space is a negative.

    Container gardening can be fantastically productive.

    I kill all my indoor plants (do not even try these days) and I grow exactly zero flowers outside but I grow a mean food garden here in chilly MA.

    We eat homegrown broccoli, beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, cauliflower, spinach, mesclun, squash, and later popcorn, eggs from our own chickens and milk from our own dairy goats.

    The animals can be a bit advanced in challenges if you do not have some space (the goats I mean – subversive chicken coops with only laying hens should be everyone’s goal! I know, I am an avian revolutionary)

    Why have chickens? They are funny for one, lots of character. Number one reason = they turn your kitchen scraps of today into lovely eggs tomorrow morning, easy peasy.

    Anyways, if its all hire out to a specialist, you never get in touch with the transformative power that food should have.

    Why do we devalue (buy at cheapest prices, allow chemicals, etc) the substance that BECOMES us – our food.

  • milo

    Nika, excellent post.

    If people want to hire people to do anything, that’s their perogative.

    You have extra money and you’re passing it along to someone else who can use it. That’s fantastic.

    Just don’t kid yourself that you’re really doing something that’s an improvement over buying food at the farmer’s market, or from any other source of local food.

    This is really just people with money to spare paying to feel good about themselves.

    And the funny part is that growing vegetables really isn’t that time consuming at all (at least not on the scale you can do in your yard) – I guess that just shows how little people understand about the process, they assume it’s beyond them when it isn’t at all.

  • luis

    Marlies, Thank you very much for that. I will adjust the stuff I save for them. We have fish and turtles and several kinds of iguanas. lots of birds too…

  • nika

    The one that takes the cake is the OB/GYN who paid $70,000 to hardscape her garden and then the landscaper didn’t plant anything (so she would have the fun of doing her own planting). I can see that sort of “gardening” really get out of hand.

    That’s not about gardening, that’s about landscapers upselling on the back of the locavore concept. That is really all what that is.

    I am not going to tell people to NOT grow their own food. If these faux gardening efforts where the specialist comes in and transplants and plans it all become a bridge to a better understanding of the natural world and how our modern societies are trashing it, then by all means go for it.

    Just don’t for a moment honestly imagine that you are an actual gardener or locavore.

    No, you are simply a client.

    Creating a beautiful garden that feeds your body and mind, its just not that hard. It is more wholesome and filling to do these things yourself than to outsource it to some perceived specialist.

    Gardening is something that grows all year long; in the summer it grows under the sun, in the winter it grows in your heart.

    You can not become a gardener without actually gardening. Much of growing food is a hands on experience, over time, as the plants, insects, animals, and weather teach YOU how to garden.

    None of this happens if you outsource it.

    When the time comes when you can no longer afford the specialist, when fertilizer is simply too expensive (its made from oil after all), when you finally see the deep errors of using insecticides, you will be left with no skills, knowledge, calluses, nothing. Your garden will not feed you then.

    By all means, be a locavore, let the farmers do it if you must. If you want your food to grow in your backyard, learn what it takes to do it yourself.

    Once YOU are cultivated, cultivating your food will be a snap.

    Nika
    http://www.humblegarden.com – see how our garden grows

  • Harry

    My first thought was “ridiculous!”

    Then I thought more. I’m a far better analyst than I am a gardener. As an analyst I earn money, give good value to employer, and support my family. As a gardener I only waste resources including my time. I can kill mint. And it’s not for want of trying or research. (I make kick-ass enriched soil, though.)

    We hire someone to clean our house; none of us enjoy it and hiring it out prevents a lot of arguments. We hire someone to mow our postage stamp lawn and clean our gutters; the service already owns the tools, does it faster and more efficiently, and does several houses on the block per visit. I don’t make my own clothes, either.

    Hiring personal services keeps others employed – you can’t send this work overseas, if that’s something that worries you. Heck, in the part of India my coworker is from, it’s frowned upon for the wealthy to do too much of their own work when they could hire someone. Hiring out the work employs someone, don’tchano?, who might not have work that day otherwise and is better than out-and-out charity.

    So hiring someone to do my gardening would give me fresh veggies, employ someone (maybe someone who really likes the work), I’d know what went into my food, and – in the best of worlds – I could learn from him.

    Sounds fine to me, if you can afford it.

  • Barbara

    I am planning on writing a post based on this article as well.

    I don’t see the idea of hiring someone to garden for you as silly. I can think of several good reasons why a family would do so, most of them relating to the fact that a lot of folks have no bloody idea how to garden anymore, or they work too much at their own paying jobs to dig their own garden, or they have physical disabilities that impair their ability to garden to greater or lesser extents.

    I also like the fact that this is good old fashioned job creation, which boosts the local economy, which is good for everyone.

  • Marlies

    Luis, ducks unlike geese don’t care for greens. They eat slugs, bugs, anything juicey and meaty. M

  • applehome

    A garden is always great – if you have land but don’t have the time and have money to pay others, why not? It’s a service, like any other.

    The bigger picture of whether the whole locavore movement makes sense or not is addressed very well by Paul Roberts in The End of Food. It seems like a more well-rounded and inclusive look at the global needs and market force issues than Pollan’s ideology. Here’s a good interview which also has a link to a recording of his speech which was aired on NPR.

    http://www.chow.com/stories/11213

  • Kanani

    no need to truck in expensive soil.

    Having had large gardens, one can never have enough soil, amendments and mulch trucked in over the years. I’ve always found it beneficial for the garden, and also satisfying to go out and turn the soil, add amendments and plan the irrigation system and spray the trees (with organic preparations).

    Expense? There are many ways to handle this. Mess? It’s part of the fun.

  • luis

    Nothing wrong with the backyard garden even if you need someone to look after it for you.
    The larger point is that first things first. Start by hiring a good nutritionist. That’s what may change your lives. How your backyard can compete with the food suppliers around here is an illusion not a trend. Folks with small farms and acreage may have a point though.

  • Messy

    kanani…..

    If the gardener has a brain in his/her head, having a client change over to a different kind of garden is just money in the bank. The design fees alone are well worth the effort, not to mention that former vegetable gardens make landscapers very happy – no need to truck in expensive soil.

    I have containers on my balcony that keep me supplied with marjoram, two kinds of thyme, sage, two kinds of basil, rosemary, parsley, garlic chives, pansies for salads, sorrel, lemongrass and whatever else I can make fit. All of these things freeze beautifully, which I’ve always thought is superior to drying.

    All you need is sun, potting mix and containers. Easy.

  • luis

    I just got rid of the herb containers. Still have rosemarie and dill and the bonsai’s. Herbs don’t do well enough in the patio to make it worth the effort. So I use store bought herbs now. If I use seedlings from home depot or other the herbs develop ok. But from seed I end up with scrawney seedling looking herbs…not worth the bother. Plus I hate to rip them up after I grow them. They become like pets….go figure.

  • Rick

    To Natalie Sztern,

    Are puppy trainers, nannies, and pool cleaners exclusive to the United States?

    And those jobs “americans don’t want” to do and those that make a buck from them, are they limited to the people in cities like New York, San Francisco, and even Chicago?

    Ridiculous.

    It must be wonderful in Canada.

  • Kelly

    Messy — I wish you could come over and play, but I’m in the Seattle area. (When I was a kid, I though Northwestern was here.) I’ll give the Washington State University extension office a call. Great idea! Best of luck in school.

  • kanani

    I think it just goes to show that people will pay anything to have things done.

    In this case, I think it serves both parties. The client gets to have someone else garden and play “gentleman farmer.”

    The gardener gets to do what he or she likes –garden in an expensive area where real estate prices are at a premium, and were it not for this might be confined to doing some container gardening on their small balcony (if they even have one).

    Where the gardener has to be prepared is when the client grows bored with the whole thing, and decides to give it up in favor of standard landscaping. But that’s like any other business. You just have to not get too attached, which is actually very hard when you’re a real gardener.

  • Kelly

    I would love to find someone willing to show me how to grow a garden next year (compensated, of course). I’ve got 2/3rds of an acre I’m sick of mowing. Any ideas?

  • Messy

    Kelly, I’d be happy to play in your garden. I’m a frustrated Master Gardener – because when we moved to Chicago, I traded a 1/2 acre lot for a townhouse postage stamp. Now I’m going to Northwestern to get a Landscaper’s certification and I guess I’ll have to work for someone else. Sigh. I LOVE getting dirty and making things grow. I maintain that vegetable gardens can be pretty, too.

    Funny though, when I was a kid, there was much whining when it came to working in the garden. I didn’t mind picking raspberries and even digging carrots wasn’t a big deal. The dreaded jobs were anything you had to pick on hands and knees (strawberries, beans, peas) and hilling potatoes. Now, I’m cool with that.

    If you aren’t in the same part of the country as I am, contact your local Faculty of Extension. They’ll be able to advise you not only about the art of the possible and how to go about tearing up your lawn (I LOVE tearing up lawns – useless plant), they can point you to some of their graduates that can do these things.

    Hope this helps – Cheers.

  • milo

    Sure, it’s not a horrible thing, just a silly one. Something doesn’t have to be harmful to be dumb.

    I’m skeptical that it’s that much of an improvement over buying local veggies at the farmer’s market.

    Home gardening is great. But is it really that big an improvement over having a square of grass, particularly when the gardener is burning gas to keep driving over on a regular basis?

    Paying someone to do the work for the vegetable garden in your yard seems like more of a prestige thing than an actual improvement for the environment. Are we really supposed to believe that a farmer is going to be as efficient driving to a bunch of tiny plots at a bunch of houses as he is at just farming a bigger plot at one location?

    And one of the main benefits of having a garden is getting great veggies *cheap* – if a gardener is going to make the cost go way up, why not just buy at the farmer’s market? This seems like it would probably the most expensive possible way to get food.

    So here’s my crazy idea…more people are gardening, there’s more interest in local food…what about a program of grazing sheep or goats on people’s lawns, in exchange for a share of the resulting meat?

  • Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    Milo – regarding efficiency it depends on many things. I get over 40 miles a gallon with my car, and living in the country, have to do a bit of driving to get to my client – or anywhere. If I have 3 clients, and drive an average of 30 miles round trip to go to their place, once a week, and then I use only hand tools, I may not be as efficient as a farmer, but I am probably more productive on SF basis. (I will also combine those trips with doing other errands, making them more “efficient”). On the other hand, many farm equipment necessary for larger plots (tractors, farm trucks etc are not fuel efficient). Also, a farmer from my county has to drive in excess of 150 miles round trip to sell to a good farmers’ market (60 miles to the closest smaller one) and their panel truck or pick up gets 15-16 miles a gallon. My clients would have to drive at least the same as I to go to a farm stand or a country store or 60 miles to the closest farmer market (or supermarket) to get their produce. So I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad proposal from a fossil-energy use point of view. If living in a city with public transportation, then the gardener can use that, as tools can be stored as each client. To each their business model, but don’t dismiss the idea right out of hand on the ground that it’s more gas guzzling – it does not have to be.

    Your idea is not crazy at all. Most city zoning would have to be changed before grazing a sheep or a goat on your lawn becomes legal though…

  • Andy

    What if everyone just moves to 20 large cities and then we ship in food by train. That would be reasonably efficient, and you still get the variety of eating outside your immediate vicinity.

  • Liz

    My first reaction to people hiring someone to come in and tend their backyard garden was, “Ridiculous! You’re missing the point!” But are they? They get fresh food, and, as someone else pointed out, someone gets to make a living by growing food for them. These same people would pay someone mow their lawn, trim their shrubs and rake their leaves, so why not to grow vegetables in the same space? Who said we’re all supposed to go back to tending our own gardens? They’re eating locally and I hope eating better (which includes organically) and isn’t that the real point?

  • Amy

    “-It’s July, it’s mango season, eat your 500 pounds this month or die trying.” heh I found that amusing. Thanks Lorelei!

    I don’t mind the locavoring thing so much..Great concept. However since we’re also talking about the economy…and hiring people…Why don’t we all just start trading back in the day…Pick my veggies…and you can have some…Somehow I don’t think we’re ever go back to that.

    *shrugs*

  • carri

    People have been hiring gardeners for as long as there have been people and gardens…the only thing new is in the marketing of it, which is brilliant! Growing your own food is also not that new, right? So what the big deal?! With the global economy and food shortages world-wide, it seems like less of a trend and more of a grave necessity.

  • French Laundry at Home

    When Christian Louboutin designs gardening boots with his signature red sole, then we’ll know it’s all in the name of fashion and one-upping the Joneses. Until then, I say it’s all good. If people have money to spend and it keeps gardeners and planters in business and the pursuit of good, non-factory farmed food in the media, then bravo.

  • Kirk

    When the doctor told me to get more exercise I immediately went out and bought a complete home gym and hired a personal trainer to come over 3 times a week to work out for me.

  • Ben

    I think there’s a big difference between hiring a gardener to build you a garden and searching out restaurants that have sourced local food. The first seems almost lazy and such a small yield ends up costing more than it necessarily has to. I’m for supporting local farmers and those who already produce local foods.

    However, searching out restaurants that use local products isn’t all about trendy, its smart and sensible. Odds are the flavor will be better and your money’s getting cycled back into the community from where the local products are purchased. Good deal in my book.

  • Cali

    I have a small herb and tomato garden and I only wish I could pay someone who really knew what he or she was doing to set it up and take care of it for me! Some of the things I’ve had to do to support my tomato plants have been… comical. I’ve had bondage tomatoes trussed to the carport, tomatoes that climbed fences and tomatoes that sprawled. This year we made some more permanent arrangements out of concrete re-mesh. They can now grow five feet up and then fall over and grow five feet down– before they start to sprawl. Ah, heirloom tomatoes. Lots of vine, and a few perfectly succulent fruits.

  • ChristaSeychew

    Here on the outskirts of Buffalo we have a business called Cornucopia. It’s one of those make and take joints where you can go in and make meals to order for your family, or pick up food to go. The difference between Cornucopia and the many make and take chains out there is that they use local food from area farms to create their tasty menus. I think this is a fantastic idea–and the food is healthy and good!

  • Lorelei Armstrong

    Locavore on Kauai means:

    -Gardening? How about snails the size of your hand. Leave your garden out in the yard? Gone tomorrow.

    -Slugs that can turn black and keep chewing in bright sunshine. Heck, you’ll see their trails on your sofa some mornings. Reconsider having a green sofa.

    -Centipedes, to keep you alert when weeding or snail-chasing. Called “the tiger of insects” by entomologists, who granted have poor hobbies.

    -It’s July, it’s mango season, eat your 500 pounds this month or die trying.

    -Two stalks of bananas ripening in the yard. Go from zero bananas to forty pounds of bananas in a day. Hope the neighbors leave their cars unlocked so you can drop off donations in the night…

    This is why I stay up late gnawing on Italian salamis.

  • Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    I am that person who can cook for you, show you how to cook, show you how to grow food or set up and maintain a kitchen garden for you.

    I have been gardening and cooking since I was a kid. We don’t buy much produce because we grow it. And I cook from scratch for my family. But let’s face it, not everybody wants to do either. So they want help? I – and many others – are happy to help them. I am staff! Instead of being a private chef (cooking for one family only), I am a personal chef (cooking for several families); instead of being a private gardener, I am a personal gardener. People have cleaning services, lawn care, pet walker. I don’t see what’s wrong with hiring a personal chef or a personal gardener. It’s done all over the world, as matter of fact – not particularly American actually. Well.. except for the fact we are turning it into a “trend”.

  • Natalie Sztern

    As long as there are locales and economies in the United States that will support hiring puppy trainers to train dogs, nanny’s to train children, pool men to clean out swimming pools there will be someone who comes up with another way the rich can part with their money. I am sorry I didn’t think of this first!

    in cities like new york and san francisco and even chicago someone will make a buck simply doing the work ‘americans don’t want’ to do.
    What surprises me is that these people are actually willing to bend down and pick the fruit or veggie. Maybe he does that too and just leaves them in a basket at the door?

    What’s his phone number?

  • Natalie Sztern

    Darcie mentions Chemlawn..in Quebec there exists a law banning the spraying of lawns with pesiticdes for about the last 10 years on residential properties

    it is shocking to read that there are states that still allow pesticide companies to spray lawns

    (I do not know about farming bans but I suspect the ban on pesticides encompasses the farming community in Quebec, as well)

  • luis

    No harm done and good for everyone involved. What’s the problem?.

    Personally I find it a bit over the top because I have half adozen grocery stores nearby including Norman Brothers and other high end stores like whole foods.

    Also my issue is wether or not I am cooking and eating a well balanced fat free meal or pressed for time and taste making too much bread and pizza’s and pastas… Now that I suited up the Kitchen Aid with brand new shinny pasta maker… this concern grows.

    Cooking your healthy balanced meals is the issue. Even the duck at Patricia Lake cleaned up what was left over of my kielbasa with veggies… ate the Kielbasa and left the carrots for the turtles…and the other day ate my meat pastry and passed up the green beans… ducks are supposed to eat green plants damm it.

  • nondiregol

    The best I can do these days is to plant kitchen herbs and peppers on a common patio I share with my neighbors. And frequently we cook together.

    I’m completely in synch with “buy local, slow food.” Just think for a minute how much you have been spending on gas these days. And who doesn’t have a farmers market you can walk to?

    Economy of scale: the growers and artisans have to pay the costs of getting it to you. It’s harder for them of course. Meanwhile the chains can sell you Jalapenos contaminated with salmonella. So I think I know where I’m going. Straight to the farmer or the cheese vendor every week.

  • lisa

    As pointed out in the article, locally grown food is becoming trendy, but I think that’s a good thing. Whatever the motivation, considering the environmental impact of everything in our lives including the food we eat is a step in the right direction. Trends based on really good ideas are ok in my opinion. And, I don’t see anything wrong with hiring gardeners to tend your edible plants.

  • CG

    Kinda seems like hired-gun gardeners miss an opportunity. We’re trying to organize the whole neighborhood with as a ‘fruit exchange’.

    Share the bounty (who can really eat all the cucumbers when they really explode).

    Get some help (neighborhood kids can haul mulch, scramble up trees to pick the good fruit).

    Have fun (we’ve met far more neighbors than we expected).

    http://fruit.greacen.com/greacen/fruit/?about=

    CG

  • gazer

    I’m with Kitt – Why not?

    If you’re going to hire a landscape/lawn service, why not go with a gardener instead? Makes sense to me.

  • Fillippelli the Cook

    Milo, I agree with you. However, I suspect that, at least in terms of grass-fed beef, restaurants may have a hard time getting a reliable supply. I suspect the same may be true for chicken and pork. Also, some may be hesitant because grass-fed beef, at least the beef I’ve had, typically has a stronger flavor than what most people expect from a steak.

    A number of restaurants here in southwestern Pa. (in and around Pittsburgh) do get a lot of local lamb from one or two producers and promote that fact on their menu, and one restaurant has a regular bison special with the bison coming from a farm less than 100 miles away. There is one large local chain and one restaurant “family” (multiple restaurants operated by same company) that get a good bit of their veg from local family farms, but they don’t really advertise it, although I don’t understand why. There are also two farm-to-table restaurants that serve quite a bit of locally sourced meat, but neither is the type of place most people could afford to frequent.

    That said, in this area, chains rule, particularly in the ‘burbs, and some of the indie restaurants would be wise, in my view, to get more local product and promote the hell out of that fact, maybe with special “Farm-to-plate” specials or special farm-to-plate events.

    As for the Times piece, in one sense, it seems lazy to have someone plant and attend your garden for you. On the other, if you have the money, and want it done right, and aren’t really looking for the satisfaction of eating food that you grew and nurtured yourself, then, hey, I guess why not, eh?

  • Tags

    Omnivores, herbivores, carnivores, locavores…

    Now laxavores?

  • Darcie

    I have a small garden but travel so much for work that it often gets neglected. If I could afford to hire a gardener to tend it I just might do it. Heck, maybe I should just quit my job and be a gardener for hire.

    If the space was just going to be planted in grass maintained by Chemlawn, changing it over to a garden (hopefully organic) would have to be an improvement, no matter who was doing the work.

    I know the locavore movement is very trendy because even Charleston WV has a restaurant that serves mainly local products. And our farmer’s market has never been bigger.

    The recent salmonella scare has probably started a lot of people thinking about where their food comes from. At least I hope so.

  • Kitt

    It’s silly and trendy but so what? Are there any losers in this equation?

    1. You have a gardener who gets to do what he or she loves to do and gets paid for it.

    2. You have a garden that is providing habitat for birds, butterflies and other critters.

    3. You have green space that is not being paved over by the homeowners because it’s “too much work” to garden.

    4. You have happy homeowners who get to enjoy the greenery and its produce.

    If someone wants to spend their money that way, and they can afford to, why not?

  • JG

    This is absurd…just another example of people trying to be trendy. BTW, haven’t most of us always had other people grow our food? and aren’t they called ‘farmers’? Some folks just have far more money than sense.

  • Chris Walker

    Is it fashionable? Absolutely. I remember almost a year ago my girlfriend and I talking to my parents about sustainable farming and free-range meat, we were basically told to shut up. Three months later my dad was telling me about organic produce and products like almond butter. People are finally paying attention to how and where we get our food, and how important it is. Perhaps you can call it yet another diet trend but I think regardless of the means, the results can be good.

    Businesses that cater to people to who want to eat locally are definitely a fad but I think they’re well-intentioned and hopefully the practice sticks around. Whatever it takes to educate people and make them active (in some shape or form), I guess.

    There are worse things, you know. People could still be taking the Atkins diet seriously.

  • Linda

    In rural north Idaho, I cannot even count how many people I know that have grown their own produce for years, both for summer freshness and for having during the winter. Some of our local Farmer’s Market folks have built greenhouses in order to supply many of their customers through most of the winter. One local, organic business, Ronniger’s Potatoes, sells to locals all winter long, and includes other root vegetables and some fruits. I’ve written about our local Farmer’s Market here: http://myblueidaho.blogspot.com/2007/06/nothing-says-summer-like-farmers-market.html.

    Many people here also raise their own farm animals and hunt. Our local 4-H organization is very strong. All of this demonstrates that at least in rural area the locavore ethic has been strong for years.

    Recently, however, even more people have mentioned the importance of growing their own gardens and putting up food for winter because of the increasingly high cost of food. So I see the locavore ethic as positive to society as a whole.

    And speaking of food prices, several times at our local grocery store, my husband and I have checked out the meat/fish department only to have someone next to us, who is looking longingly at these products, say they can’t afford beef (or steak or pork chops or whatever) any more. I find that a really tragic and sad statement about our society as a whole. Perhaps this whole locavore movement will help to change our approaches to food and growing so that everyone can eat a good meal.

  • milo

    Hiring someone to do the garden in your backyard seems ridiculous.

    What’s wrong with grocery stores and restaurants featuring local food? I’d kill to have a few local places where I could go eat a local organic meal (particularly organic, pastured, grass fed beef, etc). As trendy as these things seem to be right now, why aren’t there more restaurants using local food to differentiate themselves?

  • Claudia (the Original)

    Man, if only I had the acreage and the oak trees to support them, I’d have someone come in and “grow” some Mangalitsas or Ossobaw hogs for me . . . anything for that acorn-fed taste of “jamon americo” (!)