Locavore: It's the term coined in the United States to describe folks who strive to eat only locally grown food.
Locavores carefully source their food—both to sustain their local agricultural community and to help cut down on the environmental effects of trucking food long distances.
Through Catholic Relief Services, you have long supported deeply committed locavores beyond our country's borders. You help them grow more, better and very local crops. They grow most or all of their food supply on small plots at or near their homes. They have a really strong motivation to do so: If they don't eat local, they don't eat.
A good harvest means they can sell surplus crops to purchase food they can't grow. If they have money left over, it tends to go to education and household needs.
So, helping a farmer in Afghanistan consistently grow bigger, healthier potato crops has a huge effect on his family and his community.
Introducing a safer, more effective fertilizer to rice farmers in the Philippines also means better health and lower medical bills, which in turn saves money for other uses.
Repairing irrigation canals in Zimbabwe helps stabilize harvests by making farmers less dependent on fickle rains. But along with the canals, your support allows farmers to apply business concepts that open new markets for their surplus produce.
And for people who have little land, scarce water and maybe aren't strong enough to tend large fields, there's the keyhole garden. It's an incredibly simple and effective innovation that allows families to grow food on elevated plots about 6 feet in diameter. Keyhole gardens readily retain water, are easily accessible and don't require backbreaking work with a hoe.
If the pumpkins and cornstalks of October remind you of harvest, we hope that the next time you see them, you'll remember that you've helped people around the world become happier, healthier and warmly appreciative locavores.