The Splendid Table‘s national Locavore study participants subtract pounds and waste from sustainable eating habits

Contact: Brad Robideau

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The Splendid Table‘s national Locavore study participants subtract pounds and waste from sustainable eating habits

(St. Paul, Minn.) October 13, 2008—Third-quarter results for The Splendid Table Locavore Nation, a one-year qualitative research study on eating sustainably, noted natural weight-loss trends and drastic reduction of waste, especially among those newer to practicing the concept.

Reasons given by the newly slimmer participants were the exercise involved in gardening, eating more conscientiously and walking more as a sustainable choice. The garbage reduction was due to more composting and less packaging.

Meanwhile, as a whole, the group reported eating local organic foods 82.25 percent of the time. The actual range was 52 to 95 percent with all but two recording below 80 percent. Participant Tim Baird of Carrboro, S.C., stressed that the group consciously makes the decision to eat locally where they may have unconsciously chosen packaged and non-local foods previously.

Of 15 initially selected participants, 12 remain as active bloggers and participants of the year-long qualitative study initiated by The Splendid Table in December 2007.

Nine out of the 12 participants said their grocery bills are lower or the same as last year due to gardening, conscious food choices, lack of wastefulness, buying in bulk and preserving food. A majority also reported driving less than usual.

Those who were new to prioritizing local/seasonal food-buying were more likely to report additional lifestyle and personal benefits. Scott Swendsen of Boise, ID said his blood pressure dropped and muscle mass increased. Donna McClurkan of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Gina Keenan Klages of Eau Claire, Wis., both said they will continue making local choices after the year of eating Locavore project is over because of how they now look at food.

“The thing about eating locally is one becomes intensely aware of everything that affects where our food comes from. It is part of who I am now,” said McClurkan.

Paulette Thompson, a former Peace Corps member and teacher from Seattle, Wash., offered a lighter view. “I decided to take a Salsa dance class, because I have more energy,” said Thompson.

Because of newly noticed quality taste differences, most said they would no longer eat tomatoes and many fruits and vegetables either out of season or delivered long-distance.

About Locavore Nation

The Locavore Nation participants represent a regional geographic and demographic mix and write about their experiences on The Splendid Table Web site at www.splendidtable.org.

When Locavore Nation began, the group agreed to buy or obtain 80 percent of food items from organic local/regional and seasonal sources within 500 miles of their homes. Spices are exempt. All keep food journals to measure progress and note difficulties, resources and local trends. Most are adhering to a 100-mile distance for purchases.

The group was selected from more than 5,000 applicants to explore the obstacles or ease of maintaining a local/regional diet. States represented are California, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. Massachusetts and Oklahoma were represented by two who no longer participate in the blog or the formal survey.

Produced and distributed by American Public Media, The Splendid Table is public radio’s only national program exploring the many dimensions of food.

About The Splendid Table

Produced and distributed by American Public Media in St. Paul, Minn., The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle one-hour program that celebrates the intersection of food and life. Each week, The Splendid Table‘s Lynne Rossetto Kasper leads public radio audiences on a journey of the senses and leads discussions with a variety of writers and personalities who share their passion for the culinary delights.