Can any of the locavores please explain to me…


… that given the environmental impact of consuming locally grown food is, at best, insignificant, how it is morally defensible to take business away from a poor developing-world farmer and give it to an middle class farmer in upstate New York?

“Local food is fresher / tastes better” is a fine answer, but then let’s call a spade a spade: A vanilla consumer desire for a higher quality product, not a “lifestyle” and certainly not anything to get self-righteous about.


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3 Responses to “Can any of the locavores please explain to me…”

  1. Noah K Says:

    Why not look at it from an energy perspective? I’m getting this from talking to a certain mutual friend in Pittsburgh who hates solar cells because they potentially use up more energy/deplete more resources than they create. The thought question being: if you had a solar plant, would it produce enough energy to offset the energy used to create it (yes) AND ALSO the amount of resources you have just depleted (steel, silicon, plastics, etc.) (I’m doubtful)?

    Ask the same question with food. Did I deplete fewer resources (soil, shipping, packaging, etc.) to put the same food on my plate if it comes from the local coop or from your developing-world farmer? I think I deplete fewer resources if I get it from the local farmer (not sure how I’d test this).

    Therefore, THAT is the reason to be a “locavore” in addition to all the other self-righteous reasons…

    On an unrelated note, if someone ever plays “locavore” in a scrabble game with me, I will knock out their front teeth…that is all.

  2. Annemarie Says:

    From my CSA (community supported agriculture):

    None of these reasons involve environmental impact; they are more “feel good” and community related. In fact, these local, organic farms probably have a negative environmental impact. They need more land without pesticides than arger farms, adn their delivery route is haphazard and not maximized.

    But frankly, its more fun and convenient to get a box of random vegetables delivered to your neighborhood. You know where vegetables come from, even if you can’t pronounce their names. You feel connected to a farm and don’t have to get to the grocery store. You’re stuck trying to make a meal out of Erbette chard, Armenian cucumber and Chioggia beets, items you would never in your right mind buy at the store. Culinary creativity at its best. Call me a Californian, but the tomatoes and strawberries are definitely more delicious than the ones from Safeway. Can’t guarantee the same about the fennel; I don’t think they even sell it.

  3. Catherine Says:

    hmm yes so I’m a little tardy here.

    What Annemarie and Noah said. Also, perhaps you should not interpret that paper (fun fact: it was written by my advisors) as ‘don’t eat local’ but more as ‘don’t eat cow products’. I know Chris (lead author) is both an almost-locavore and an almost-vegan.

    ps Noah, who is your friend in Pittsburgh who hates solar cells? Are you talking about me? Did I say that? oops.

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