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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Girl Scouts' New Locavore Badge: What You Have to Do to Earn It

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM

The Girl Scouts' Locavore badge.
  • The Girl Scouts' Locavore badge.

​Last week, NPR reported that the Girl Scouts of the USA had just revised its badges for the first time in 20 years. The update included introducing a new "Locavore" badge for senior scouts ages 14-16. But what do the scouts have to do to earn it?

A fair amount of research. SFoodie just obtained a copy of the locavore badge guide from the Girl Scouts of Northern California, and the steps required constitute a solid course in local food sourcing and cooking. The girls start out slowly, first interviewing a local cook or a grocery store manager about the food system, and then identifying seasons when certain fruits and vegetables grow locally or ferreting through their fridge to identify products they can find local substitutes for.

The Girl Scouts aren't setting any fixed boundaries for what constitutes "local." Their guidance is to cite a poll in which 50 percent of the respondents said it indicated within 100 miles of their home, while another 37 percent thought "local" meant "from my own state." 

Subsequent steps involve more complex cooking tasks: creating two salads with local fruits and vegetables, taking a family recipe and making it with local ingredients, and finally preparing a three-course meal or making a more complicated dish like pasta from scratch. 

This year, Northern California girl scouts gained another resource for local foods. According to spokesperson Dana Allen, last year the widower of a former volunteer donated funds to start a 40-by-80-foot garden at Camp Arequipa in Fairfax, which campers tended all summer with the help of a gardener from Berkeley's Sprouts Cooking Club. The camp is hosting a Harvest Festival on October 30 to mark the end of the summer season, with 200 Girl Scouts in attendance, and will then offer other gardening opportunities throughout the school year.

Locavore badge seekers have it easy compared to the Girl Scouts of the 1910s and '20s. To earn a "Farmer" badge in 1913, a scout had to learn how to incubate chicks, keep beehives, and cure hams. Presumably within 100 miles of her home.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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