When I think of the word “local”, I think of the farmer who lives down the road from me, who just harvested his massive pumpkin patch. I think of the sugarmaker who trucks maple sap with a horse-drawn sled. I think of my own eggs from my own hens. But let’s face it–I’m not the norm. “Local“, in most cases, is the nearby gas station with a Taco Bell adjacent. It’s the DQ off the county road. It’s an Arby’s by the soccer field. How far away are you, for example, from a McDonald’s?
According to a blogger named Stephen Von Worley (with a h/t to Huffington Post), the place in the U.S. furthest from a McDonald’s, is “Between the tiny Dakotan hamlets of Meadow and Glad Valley lies the McFarthest Spot: 107 miles distant from the nearest McDonald’s, as the crow flies, and 145 miles by car!” So it’s not, in fact, me (I’m only 15 miles from the nearest Mickey D’s.)
When it comes to the growing “local” food movement, I’m skeptical of corporate food co-opting it. Why? Because of the overuse of terminology. “Local,” “organic,” and “farm fresh,” are clever marketing keywords in many cases. I think this map from Von Worley’s blog really sums up the paradox. How do we really define what’s local? The colored portion represents the distance to the nearest McDonald’s:
To read more about Von Worley’s findings, click here.