Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Locavore movement that is catching up in the US is a product of intense citizen awareness about the damage brought about by the modern industrial agriculture, the fast food industry culture and mindless tinkering with the food processing operations by the intensely profit driven food industry. The damage is caused to the environment as well as the health of the citizens who are forced to accept the situation as a fait accompli with a sense of helplessness. The present initiatives taken by some people with a missionary zeal, aims to persuade people to shun foods from far away markets and in stead patronize those which are produced or made locally. The urban gardening phenomenon presently seen is an outcome of such efforts and with increasing demand for locally sourced foods, more and more cities are looking for policies that will help expanding the local production base. Here is a case with the famed city of Chicago in United States which is trying to introduce an exclusive brand with appropriate iconic symbol that will distinctly show, when labeled, as the product raised within the city limit. Here is a take on this new initiative.

"Chicago Grown envisions a just, sustainable, and prosperous Chicago food system, cultivated by Chicago's diversity of cultural traditions and its residents' passion for growing, producing, cooking, and eating local foods. Chicago Grown promotes foods grown and processed in the city of Chicago by: Raising awareness of fruits, vegetables & other products grown in the city. Supporting established local growers and providing support and encouragement to new farmers and food entrepreneurs. Increasing demand for prepared and processed foods that use Chicago Grown ingredients. Highlighting the economic and community benefits of a local food system, including jobs and youth development. Celebrating and connecting diverse food cultures throughout the city. Partnering with all others who share our vision and support our mission"

It is a proof that the city-grown food movements in the US are gnawing at the mainstream food production system with a potential to outpace them in the coming years. Chicago is the latest example. This city wants to launch immediately a new program that will see that all food products raised within the city limits are labeled with the phrase "Chicago Grown". According to the definition, all fresh foods and processed foods containing at least 50% local ingredients will be deemed to be eligible for such labeling. For this new idea the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council, has to be applauded and when launched this label will be the first one from a local city intended to boost local agriculture. According to some reports others are also are jumping into this band wagon such as Marin County, California where local producers now have the option of using a "Grown Local Marin County" on their goods for a fee of about $65. Similarly  in Asheville, North Carolina, residents can look for the "Appalachian Grown" label, which denotes items that have been produced within 100 miles of the city. This new initiative is almost similar to the geographical identity protection under the IPO regime to famed products like Scotch Whiskey which needs to be produced in Scotland while Darjeeling Tea provides another example of such locally produced materials gaining international recognition. The above initiatives are really forward looking which if pursued efficiently can change the face of America eventually. 


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