I picked up a head of red leaf lettuce at the supermarket the other day. “Locally Grown,” said the wrapper. The grower is in Michigan, 268 miles away.
There is no single standard for “locally grown.” A 2008 bill, H.R. 2419, defines a “locally or regionally produced agricultural product” as one
(i) which is produced and distributed in the locality or region where the finished product is marketed;The first two conditions seem nearly contradictory: few if any shoppers at a farmers market would think of “locally grown” produce as having originated 400 miles away. The joining of locally and regionally here engenders confusion.
(ii) which has been shipped a total distance of 400 or fewer miles, as determined by the Secretary [of Agriculture]; and
(iii) about which the distributor has conveyed to the end-use consumers information regarding the origin of the product or production practices, or other valuable information.
“Locally grown” begins to look meaningless: all produce, wherever it’s grown, is grown locally. The real question is where it’s sold.