Eat Local | The Lexicon of Sustainability | PBS Food

The Lexicon of Sustainability: Local

As consumers take increased responsibility for what they eat, many choose to become “locavores,” favoring foods grown or produced in their communities. By voting “local” with their pocketbooks when they go to the supermarket, these consumers keep money in local economies while supporting and strengthening local food systems. They also decrease their “food miles” and with it their carbon footprint—of critical importance in confronting the challenge of climate change.

Still, even the most responsible consumers can’t find everything locally. Coffee, spices, and most fish often come from halfway around the world. In these cases, consumers can embrace the principle of a “connected market.” By applying the same rationale used when buying local products to those that come from great distances, consumers can ensure their purchases support the growth and production of responsible and sustainable food systems. [ Explore all the terms. ]

Featured in the Film

Jessica Prentice
A chef and author who coined the term “locavore” to describe people like herself who lived primarily on food produced locally.
Three Stone Hearth
Berkeley, CA

Heirloom vs Hybrid“Heirloom vs. Hybrid”
Annabelle Lenderink
A Northern California farmer specializing in rare vegetable and fruit varieties.
Star Route Farms
Bolinas, CA

Food Miles“Food Miles”
John Lagier
A prominent grower providing a variety of citrus for the San Francisco foodshed.
Lagier Ranches
Escalan, CA

Urban Farmer“Urban Farmer”
Novella Carpenter
Author of Farm City, the New York Times bestselling book about her many challenges in converting a vacant city lot into a thriving city garden.
Ghost Town Farm
Oakland, CA

Local is my Own Backyard“Local is my Own Backyard”
Gary Jackemuk & Craig Ruggless
These homeowners converted their suburban backyard into a full-fledged farm providing produce and pastured poultry for farmers markets and restaurants across Los Angeles.
Winnetka Farms
Winnetka, CA

Connected Market“Connected Market”
David and Shannon Negus
Based in Yakutat, Alaska, this family-owned company catches, processes, and ships sustainably managed salmon across the U.S.
Mystic Salmon
Yakutat, Alaska

Film Credits
Produced by Laura Howard-Gayeton
Directed, Photographed and Written by Douglas Gayeton
Edited and Animated by Pier Giorgio Provenzano
Music by Rumplefarm and Kevin MacLeod (

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