The Benefits, Challenges, and Strategies of Adults Following a Local Food Diet


  • Carmen Byker Virginia Tech
  • Nick Rose PCC Natural Markets
  • Elena Serrano Virginia Tech



100-Mile Diet, Local Food, Sustainable Food System, Focus Group, Locavores


Supported in part by a variety of popular books, websites, and other media, the interest in local food is building dramatically, and a growing number of people are increasing their purchases of local food. This paper describes a study that explored the perceived benefits and challenges of following a diet consisting exclusively of local food in south­western Virginia, as well as the strategies for coping with its limitations. Nineteen individuals partici­pated in a four-week Local Food Diet Challenge, which included eating only foods produced from within 100 miles of the participants’ homes. Part of a larger study looking at the nutritional impacts of a local food diet, this study included a pre-diet questionnaire that  gathered participants’ demo­graphic characteristics, shopping patterns, eating behaviors, and attitudes toward local foods; consumption-reporting forms during the diet period; and a post-diet focus-group discussion for participants to share their experiences in following the local food diet. In this paper we report the major themes that emerged in the focus groups and offer recommendations for locavores and organizations attempting to maximize local food consumption.


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Author Biographies

Carmen Byker, Virginia Tech

204 Wallace Annex (0228), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061 USA; +1-757-636-7492.

Nick Rose, PCC Natural Markets

PCC Natural Markets, Seattle, WA 98105 USA.

Elena Serrano, Virginia Tech

201 Wallace Annex (0228), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061 USA; +1-540-231-3464.



How to Cite

Byker, C., Rose, N., & Serrano, E. (2010). The Benefits, Challenges, and Strategies of Adults Following a Local Food Diet. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(1), 125–137.



Open Call Paper