Forrest Pritchard is a full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding a BA in English and a BS in Geology from William & Mary. Smith Meadows, his farm, was one of the first “grass finished” operations in the country, and has sold at leading farmers’ markets in Washington DC for nearly two decades. Pritchard's first two books received starred reviews from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and NPR, and his latest book is set to debut in 2018.

13 responses to “‘Eating Local’… What Does It Mean to You?”

  1. Leslie

    A couple more things I think about when deciding if my food is local: can I (or is it possible even if unlikely) meet and greet the farmer? and how much packaging must this product have to get it freshly to my table.
    Thanks for your clarification on the nuances.

  2. Lynsi

    Thank you, Forrest: very well put! Sometimes I hesitate walking up to a stand at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market when it says they are from such and such, Missouri, Nebraska, or Minnesota, but I have to remind myself that those farms are still local compared to the conventional items at the grocery store.

    I learned a lot while I lived and worked out at Smith Meadows, and ‘my time in Virginia’ seem to come up in conversations frequently. I enjoy reading your blog posts and still feeling connected in that way: thanks! I look forward to reading your book when it comes out in the spring.

    P.S. Texas is 900+ miles from us and California is 1800+ miles from us, I think I’ll grow my own peppers and tomatoes, thank you! 😉

  3. Zack Rodman

    Hey FP! Love what you’re doing here. And there aren’t many farmers with your knack for writing a good yarn. Keep it up!

    I was just talking about the issue of “local” with my wife and family the other day. I am wondering how you balance the need for meat and produce that is farmed “organically” vs the desire to buy local. It seems logical that to grow the same things in one climate might require more pesticide than in another more perfectly suited climate.

    Especially as a father of a 2 year old, avoiding harmful pesticides, hormones, etc. is my main concern. Thoughts?


    1. Zack Rodman

      I should add that seasonality plays a big role here. Avoiding tomatoes in January and that sort of thing. But there are certain staples that we eat year-round–like chicken for example. The question of local vs organic is mainly applicable to these scenarios.

  4. Jenny J

    Interesting post. I live near Smith Meadows and have been disappointed to find that when I’ve come to the farm store to buy meat I’ve been told that it is being saved to take to market in the city for the weekends. Sure would be nice to be able to supply some of what you have for truly, the local community. Just a suggestion. Thanks for what you do.

  5. Zack Rodman

    Hey Forrest. I know what you mean about the flashback. I keep thinking back to the hours spent in Skipper’s history class drawing violent cartoons depicting one another getting slaughtered in one horrid (but humorous) way or another. Makes me think that 1) teenage boys are barely civilized and 2) no wonder I got C’s in high school.

    Anyway, thanks for the response to my question. But with respect, you didn’t really answer it. I agree that the word “organic” is not always meaningful and for sure, there are many corporate (and small businesses too!) that use the word for their own greedy purposes. But this isn’t really what I was getting at.

    For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that certified “organic” can be a reliable way to select meat and produce that has been grown and processed with relatively fewer chemical substances and other such nasties. How does one weigh that against a desire to buy locally? Why should I buy from my local farmer if he/she is using pesticide to grow their lettuce when the stuff I can get at the store (albeit from California) is pesticide free?

    I have a POV, but would be curious to hear yours.

    I haven’t been to the Dupont Market since we moved into the burbs last year, but I would love to stop by sometime. Maybe Falls Church. (We live in Arlington now.)



    didnt really help

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