The Locavore's Dilemma
In Praise of the 10,000-mile DietBook - 2012
A new generation of food activists has come to believe that "sustainable farming" and "eating local" are the way to solve a host of perceived problems with our modern food supply system. By combining healthy eating and a high standard of environmental stewardship, these locavores think, we can also deliver important economic benefits and increase food security within local economies.
But after a thorough review of the evidence, economic geographer Pierre Desrochers and policy analyst Hiroko Shimizu have concluded these claims are mistaken. In The Locavore's Dilemma , they explain the history, science, and economics of food supply to reveal what locavores miss or misunderstand: the real environmental impacts of agricultural production; the drudgery of subsistence farming; and the essential role large-scale, industrial producers play in making food more available, varied, affordable, and nutritionally rich than ever before in history. At best, they show, locavorism is a well-meaning marketing fad among the world's most privileged consumers. At worst, it constitutes a dangerous distraction from solving serious global food issues.
Deliberately provocative, but based on scrupulous research and incontrovertible scientific evidence, The Locavore's Dilemma proves that:
* Our modern food-supply chain is a superior alternative that has evolved through constant competition and ever-more-rigorous efficiency.
* A world food chain characterized by free trade and the absence of agricultural subsidies would deliver lower prices and more variety in a manner that is both economically and environmentally more sustainable.
* There is no need to feel guilty for not joining the locavores on their crusade. Eating globally, not only locally, is the way to save the planet.