In 2017 we celebrated ten years since the word locavore officially entered our language and twelve since the Locavore Movement began. Despite being coined in 2005, it was another two years before it was awarded the coveted ‘Word of the Year’ title by Oxford University Press.
It’s beginning was humble. The Locavore Movement is said to have begun on World Environment Day in 2005 in San Francisco. It was then that four Californian woman, Lia McKinney, Jessica Prentice, Dede Sampson and Sage Van Wing, were inspired by ecologist Gary Paul Nabham’s book “Coming Home to Eat” to start an eating challenge. The foursome’s task was a month-long dietary experience they called “Celebrate Your Foodshed: Eat Locally.” For it they asked residents of the Bay Area to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. They came up with the locavore name, launched a website, and from there, the movement grew.
Now, ten years later Preoday and ForPOS have taken on the mantle of the Locavore Movement with the launch of Oxford Orders. For those not already in the know, Oxford Orders is the first in a series of regional ordering ecosystems bringing homegrown businesses and residents together. There are 474 restaurants listed in Oxford, alongside hundreds of other companies such as florists, gift shops and butchers with pre-ordering appeal, meaning the potential for benefit within the local community is tremendous.
In 2007 being a locavore meant eating food grown and produced within a small radius. The purpose was widely accepted to be as a support to local farmers and producers while they struggled against the spread of supermarket chains. In 2017, we think the time is right to extend the meaning to buying from independent, local businesses – be they restaurants, bars, bookshops or bakers, direct or via local technologies. In this way the concept evolves from one about supporting local growers to one that includes the backing of local entrepreneurs and industry (including those growers) as well as the shops on our high street.
These businesses need our support. It’s no secret that high street retailers – including food outlets – have been struggling. Over the years the high street has had many ups and downs, usually in line with the economy but now there are experts predicting that physical high street stores will soon be wiped out. The locavore movement offers a real chance to counter the threat.
Added to this, Aviva Investors, which owns around £20bn of property in the UK said that shops need to offer an enjoyable, personalised experiences in order to survive. We agree, and that’s why we argue locavore platforms such as Oxford Orders are needed in order to help businesses do this.
If you support local businesses, we encourage you to show your support by Tweeting or posting on instagram with the hashtag #ImALocavore. There’s also an Instagram account you can follow. Together we can reignite this movement and collectively we can give local businesses the boost they need, not just to survive, but thrive.