Anti-Locavore Oldie but Goodie
This Time article is from the inimitable Joel Stein. He describes how he takes on the locavore movement and prepares a complete distavore meal — distavore being the opposite of locavore. That is, he goes out of his way to use ingredients from distant lands and far-flung regions of the world. Then he explains why he thinks reactionary locavores are wrong:
The local-food movement is deeply Luddite, part of the green lobby that measures improvement by self-denial more than by actual impact—considering shipping food in containers is often more energy-efficient than a local farmer trucking small amounts that are then purchased on a separate weekend farmers’-market trip you take in your SUV.
I don’t think most locavores genuinely care about the energy use of different transportation methods. They’re more often motivated more by a distaste for trade and business. (To see for yourself, ask a locavore what he thinks of Monsanto!) As for impact, locavores strive to make an impact on attitudes and budgets through a lot of incremental changes: growing seeds in cups on the windowsill, for example, or requiring school districts to purchase a percentage of their cafeteria food from nearby farmers.
Locavores’ practices probably won’t affect climate change or pollution very much. The reason to keep an eye on them is that they could have a significant impact on agricultural and trade policies. If they succeed, the rest of us will subsidize their lifestyle while they laugh all the way to the bank — or to the farmers’ market.