Once upon a time, and not that long ago, really, pretty much everybody ate mostly stuff that grew – or grew up – near where they lived. Along came the global, industrialized food system and by the end of the 20th century, U.S. food was said to travel 1,500 miles to reach our plates, at least according to one much cited statistic. But as the millennium turned and Americans grew ever more interested in raising and eating local food, we found we needed a word to describe them. That word, “locavore,” was coined in 2005. Two years later, it was voted the Word of the Year by Oxford University Press, and one year after that, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service in Cumberland County began hosting its annual Backyard Locavore Day.

This year, the sixth such day will be held Saturday, Aug. 9 in six gardens in Brunswick and Freeport. The gardens will be open for self-guided tours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. with demonstrations and talks about composting, beekeeping, backyard poultry, canning and much more – not to mention food samples. The tour costs $15 if you register in advance, $20 the day of event and is free for children under 12. Proceeds benefit UMaine Extension’s Cumberland County Food Preservation Program.

Backyard Locavore Tour, self-guided tour of 6 backyards in Brunswick and Freeport, $15 in advance. University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth. umaine.edu. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

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