Locavore: One who eats locally grown food whenever possible.

Del Mundo: Spanish for “of the world.”

Locavore Del Mundo: Someone who is crazy about eating locally around the world!

About Me:

Me with a guernsey cow at Seneca Breeze Farm in NY. Photo taken by Eric English.

I have edacious tendencies and often need to force myself to put the fork down because I want to continue eating, not because I’m hungry but because I want to savor the delectable flavors. I do not believe we should consume food for the sole purpose of alimentation; food is meant to be enjoyed thoughtfully, slowly, with company. Many of my most content moments are when I’m in my kitchen cooking, or when I’m in my garden tending to my plants. Some of my most enjoyable and enlightening moments are when I become friends with local farmers and can use their products in my kitchen. I much prefer to be able to hand someone money while thanking them for their hard work instead of forking my cash over to a bored teenager at a cash register who is just one of the perhaps dozens of people who will see but a fraction of my hard-earned money.

I am a science teacher at a private school in El Salvador where I teach environmental science, biodiversity, and biology. I have a Master’s degree in Agriculture, Food & the Environment from Tufts University. Apart from growing and cooking food (and seeking out my local farmers), I am passionate about nearly every outdoor pursuit as well as living sustainably. The most un-sustainable aspect of my life is the frequency I travel. So I’m really hoping this solar-powered plane can be made into a 747-sized model soon.

About the importance of local food:

Choosing to buy local food is a strong vote with your dollar. You are voting for a strong local economy, for fresher produce, for farmland preservation, and for your neighbor. My personal favorite benefit of local food is the increase in the diversity of food you can fill your shopping bag with. Tomatoes in the large supermarkets seem to come in three sizes, small (cherry), medium (Roma) and large (these mealy flavorless ones, bred for the durability, color, and size are just called “supermarket tomatoes”). At farmers markets, the abundance of tomatoes in all shapes and sizes and fully ripened colors ranging from purple to yellow to green to red will have your head spinning in tomato bliss.

This variety does more than please the palate; biological diversity on a farm has the very localized benefit of reducing the need for pesticides. A variety of plants brings in a variety of insects, and the beneficial ones will keep the harmful ones in check. Farm biodiversity also has the much more global implications of preserving genetic diversity. A monoculture is susceptible to disease outbreaks, and much of the industrial food chain is started in fields of single species. Bananas, if they could speak, could warn against such monoculture disasters. What happened to the Gros Michael banana variety seems to be happening again to the Cavendish variety, the one you see in bright yellow bunches in the supermarket. But we shouldn’t be buying bananas because they’re certainly not local, right?

I would also like to add that local food tastes better. Perhaps it’s because it was picked that morning, or that it didn’t travel thousands of miles squished in a crate on a boat and in a truck, or perhaps it’s because the food is at its peak, it’s being eaten exactly when it should, not cold-stored for several months before landing on your plate. I think it’s a combination of all of those reasons, as well as the comfort in knowing exactly where your food comes from, of just having discovered that you and the farmer you just purchased a bunch of beets and a bag of snow peas from share the same favorite hiking trail up a nearby mountain.

About the agriculture of the countries in this blog:

El Salvador

United States