JJ Gonson, chef and owner of catering company Cuisine en Locale, purchases all fruits, vegetables, food items, and ingredients locally — from Maine — whenever possible. When Gonson’s in a bind, she’ll order foods from the New England region. She will not prepare any menu selections using items imported from far distances. “We make no exceptions,” Gonson tells The Boston Globe.
Business owners admit that there are other advantages — ones that motivate them far more than meeting consumer demand for local foods. Local farmers and other nearby producers respond to purchasers’ concerns much faster; quick response times motivate business owners to maintain an ongoing professional relationship with local farmers.
The initiative is not perfect, experts warn. One of the problems, The Bennington Banner continues, is the the somewhat unclear definition of locally grown. “Right now ‘local’ does not have a set standard, and everyone has a different value for it. People make an effort to buy local because it has ecological advantages, or because of food safety, or because it supports the local economy. It has a different meaning for each audience,” food administrator Abbey Willard explains to the Vermont newspaper.