How local is local?
Don't expect an answer here. These are some musings I have about what is local.
When I started Be Locals, people asked me what area would I be covering. I picked 25 miles from Portsmouth based on how far I would be prepared to drive for local produce. That's just my measure though and in the end it didn't really matter because Tim & Richard's farm are within 15 miles of Portsmouth.
I return though to what defines local. I think there are at least 2 perspectives for me.
1. From a Be Locals position, how far am I willing to drive to pick up local produce for my customers
2. What's my personal definition of my local area?
So, talking about the 1st perspective, it's 25 miles for me. More than that I just don't want to drive.
So, the 2nd perspective is a bit different. If some local produce came from 50, 75 miles, is it still local? It's not that far but is it local? From Portsmouth in the very South of Hampshire, to Basingstoke in the north of Hampshire, it's 50 miles. Using county boundaries to define locality doesn't work for me - Hampshire produce could be travelling over 50 miles to you whereas West Sussex produce could be coming 10 miles.
Now 50 miles doesn't sound very local to me. My idea of local is without much planning, going somewhere in your local area and stumbling upon something nice. I don't drive 50 miles unless I have a definite plan whereas we might go for a family walk somewhere locally - QE Country Park, 100 Acre Wood, somewhere on the South Downs or my absolute favourite - somewhere with a very nice pub and some top class beer & food!! That distance is roughly about 20 miles or so depending on how lost I get! Therefore my thinking is, if I found the most amazing pie that I'd like to sell to my customers and it was 40 or 50 miles away, I'm not sure it would feel local to me.
Perhaps local is a personal definition. Maybe it's something that you define that makes sense to you. Local to someone living in a huge country like Australia is probably going to be geographically much bigger than someone living in a comparatively densely populated UK. For now, I think that I'm going to stick to about 25 miles and see where that leads Be Locals.
In researching this piece, I came across a new word for me 'localvore'!! It means someone who exclusively eats only what is produced locally. I've not investigated but I don't expect there to be many localvores in the country? Who knows? I do think though that given the option, many people would choose local.
Another interesting thing I heard the other night was that 'The Pig' restaurant in the New Forest have a menu called the 'The 25 mile menu' where everything on it comes from a 25 mile radius. I like that. Well done 'The Pig' restaurant!!
PS. Watch for a blog soon covering a related subject - Food miles.
PPS. Want some local food? Order from www.belocals.uk . :-)