Are you a “mediocrevore”?

In 2007, the Oxford English Dictionary dubbed “locavore” the word of the year:

The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation.

(This is a quote from the Oxford University Press blog; the online 3rd edition of the OED that Harvard has still hasn’t included the term, so I can’t give you their precise definition.)

I got another one for you, that I coined this weekend during a discussion with a friend: mediocrevore. Definition: A person who wants to eat local, organic food that is produced sustainably and without abusing farm workers, but about half the time is too busy and lazy and just grabs whatever is inexpensive and/or convenient.

I think this has the potential to really take off! Please feel free to use it and tell any foodie or writer (prosie?) friends about it–ideally, with a link back here.

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11 Responses to Are you a “mediocrevore”?

  1. magicbean says:

    Hahahaha. I like it.

    (aside: I think it was “Fresh: The Movie” that had either Will Allen or Joel Salatin saying that “The only thing Americans fear is inconvenience”.)

    Now back to my irregularly scheduled frozen burrito….

  2. Robin says:

    A frozen burrito at this time of day would certainly lead to irregularity!

  3. bluemoose says:

    I think this could apply to more than food. I would prefer to buy only goods of any sort that use sustainable materials and practices, do not exploit workers in their production, and benefit my local community. But I don’t know of any local toilet paper producers, and I’m not willing to give that up. Also, I need a new water gun, and I plan to go to the Target (or worse) to find one — probably made by exploited workers, and definitely out of unsustainable plastics (they make it possible, you know).

    But I try to regularly remind myself that embracing mediocrity occasionally does not undo my good intentions elsewhere. I have started following the efforts of the 3/50 project, as I like that their attitude is not “all or nothing, local versus organic” — it’s just that you should start somewhere. (

  4. Robin says:

    “Mediocreshopper” … Hmmm, I was going to say that doesn’t have the same ring, but in a way it does! Especially if you say, “Attention, Mediocreshoppers, there is a blue light special in aisle three!”

  5. Hope says:

    I packed a frozen burrito and an organic apple for lunch. I think that’s your definition right there. ;)

  6. Lisa Jervis says:

    This is a great concept, but I don’t like the negativity that comes with the association to mediocrity. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me, but I read “mediocre” as “failure.” But of course any kind of purity around local foods (or anything) is impossible, so we do need a word. I like “harm reductionist” (that’s the conceptual framework I am most drawn to in this context), though it’s kinda high concept. But how about “aspiring,” as in, “I’m an aspiring locavore”? For a long time I was an aspiring vegan. I knew I could never give up yogurt but I was making a good go of it.

  7. Jenny1144 says:

    I clicked over to the article about abused farm workers, and since I had my mind on the topic of abuse, I was momentarily baffled by the photo caption at the top of the page: “Farm laborers tend to squash in a field in central California.” Now, I knew sun could cause some damage, but I didn’t know it could make people *squash*.

  8. Amy R. says:

    I like it, both mediocrevore and mediocreshopper. I recall having a conversation with a friend about razors of all things. I mentioned my use of plastic disposables and she brought up the environmental impact. (This was someone who is comfortable enough with me to say such things and who I am comfortable enough with to say, “oh well.”) I’d love to have all eco-friendly products, but dude, those fancy razors are expensive and clog like the dickens. Sometimes you just have to be mediocre.

    Also: mediocrepoor — when you want to buy the organic baby spinach at Trader Joe’s, but lured by the 1.99 price tag of the non-organic brand.

  9. bluemoose says:

    How about also cheapitarian? That’s when you become a vegetarian in part because you cannot afford to buy any meat other than the scrambled bits of multiple cows most likely to contain e.coli (aka cheap ground beef)?

  10. Robin says:

    Jenny1144, that’s really funny (the topic isn’t, of course). Bryan Garner in his Modern American Usage calls this a “miscue” and they are REALLY easy to make when reading–and when writing. I should write a blog post about that sometime–thanks for pointing it out!

    Amy R., the Razor Cartel has earned my deepest hatred! I hate how they keep changing the “systems” every few years so even if you do get the expensive kind, you still have to throw them out and buy a new system. I finally got an epilator. I do get ingrown hairs occasionally, but it doesn’t make my skin dry.

  11. magicbean says:

    Lisa, I think that’s why I like the “mediocre” part…it is kind of a failure – a failure of food policy and food systems to create decent food for everyone. And we should probably not want to be remain so mediocre.

    bluemoose, nice call on mediocreshopper.

    We could just start the cult of mediocre-ism. You have do drink the half price Big Lots koolaid to get in though.

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