The responsible travel movement is gaining momentum. More and more travelers are looking to explore the world and make a positive difference in the destinations they visit. Rather than merely “taking” from a place, they’re looking to give back.

That sentiment has helped fuel the rise of “traveling locavores” – people who make an effort to only eat food that is grown or harvested locally, rather than foods that need to be moved long distances to get into markets. Locavores consider local to be food that is grown within 100 miles of where it’s purchased or consumed. Being a locavore requires being mindful of the food you eat, and also focuses on helping the local community, particularly the farmers.

The concept makes perfect sense when you’re traveling. After all, if you’re exploring a new destination, eating like the locals is part of the adventure. Here’s what you need to know about traveling like a locavore:

  • There are no dietary restrictions imposed in a locavore diet. Some locavores are very strict and don’t eat any ingredients that aren’t locally produced. Others will cut themselves some slack, following the so-called “Marco Polo rule,” which allows for adding dried spices to food. They also include foods such as coffee and sugar in their diet.
  • The diet focuses on locally produced, organic foods, ideally from family farms. You should also look for food that is “terroir” – which means food that is famous for the region in which its grown or produced, such as Bordeaux wine or Chinese tea.
  • Before you travel, do your research to identify restaurants, farmer’s markets and grocery stores that specialize in locally grown food and produce. You can also ask a concierge or tour guide for suggestions once you’ve arrived.
  • Try to book accommodations with cooking facilities. Rather than relying on what restaurants serve, you can take matters into your own hands if you make the decision to prepare meals for yourself. Pro tip: Locavores always buy from a farmer’s market before buying from a supermarket.

Certainly, some destinations are better than others for locavores. However, wherever you choose to travel to dip your toe into the idea of being a locavore, odds are it’ll change the way you think about food and the world. Perhaps best of all, you’ll be eating healthier and have a more immersive experience that helps you to gain a deeper understanding of the places you visit.

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