Thursday, April 16, 2009

Locavores are Everywhere

The LOCAVORE movement has become so popular that there is even an iPhone app to support locavores in their search for farmer's markets and in-season produce.

The reasons that people support growing and buying food locally include a desire to build strong communities, accountability, support for small and sustainable farming, reduction of dependence on fossil fuels for transportation, and aesthetic enjoyment. Some people feel that it is a way of putting down roots (so to speak) and finding what is special about the unique place where they live. It is a way of reclaiming regional flavors in a mass-market mass-media world.

It fits in well with my own life-style: my parents were some sort of urban homesteaders, with a significant-sized vegetable garden in the alley of our small-town backyard. We canned tomatoes, made dill pickles, put away plums and pears. Now, I belong to a CSA and complain about coming up with creative ways to fit a half dozen red peppers into every week's meals for months on end.


But let's take a look at this again....
Is locavory elitist?
And are we pinning too much on a symbolic back-to-the-land movement?

The transportation of food accounts for 11% of food-related greenhouse-gas emissions. So, while all that transportation does add up, it's not the fastest route to cutting greenhouse gases.

What's faster? Cutting out meat, especially red meat. 18% of all greenhouse gases are produced by livestock, and 30% of the earth's land surface is devoted to raising livestock or the grain and grass they eat. If you replaced beef with beans one day a week, it would reduce your carbon footprint more than becoming a locavore.

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