Supporting local farmers and cultures along the hiking trails
Text and CreativeCommons drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt
Ultralight hikers have made science out of freeze drying, dehydrating and in other ways minimizing the weight and volume of the food fuel they carry with them… But on many back-country, coastal, lowland and culture trails there is an even lighter – and in many ways better option: don’t carry your food, instead support and relate to the locals by heading for the small villages, the local farmers markets, organic outlets and the small ins, cafe’s and other food places along the trails, to experience the local food and support local communities and culture
Relational eating is a fast growing movement, all about knowing and relating to the local landscapes, places and people behind what we eat, and this trend is close related to local eating, sustainable food etc.
Benefits of eating local, when hiking
There is a lot of good things about eating local, both for the environment (less transport, cooling and plastic ). For the farmers (getting a better price, new friends and more fun ) And for the hikers ( getting fresh, tasty, local, exiting experiences – and relating, hearing stories and understanding the land and cultures they pass through much better )
Benefits for the trails
There is another very good reason – it make better trails, because the locals gets inspired in many and new ways, and both start to use the trails themselves – and start to protect and make them better.
Some hiking trails have understood this very well, and even made the trails go through as many small villages as possible, one example is the Camino de Santiago (St. James Way, Spain).
There are many other examples of new and restored hiking trails, where the effect on local culture and life, of a steady steam of hikers coming through, is very positive: new markets spring to life, new eating places open, music in the evenings, restoration work on local monuments and attractions suddenly make much more sense etc.
It often start with what hikers choose to put on their plate...
One of the most important ingredients in creating these new culture experiences along the hiking trails start with what hikers choose to eat when hiking.
Eating local food is in many places the best option, not only for the hikers but also for all the hikers coming after them… helping to build up and sustain thriving communities and local farmers along the trails benefits both the hikers, the locals and the hiking trails.