Jump to content

Locavore -- or Has Local Gone Too Far?


zoramargolis
 Share

Recommended Posts

Food trends for 2007

* Grab your shopping basket. 2007 has much in store . . .

By Chicago Tribune's Good Eating Staff, Chicago Tribune

<snip>

--Renee Enna

Look for a 'locavore' near you

Members of a group in California call themselves "locavores" because they eat only foods grown within 100 miles of their San Francisco epicenter. Across the country, people are pledging to follow the "100-mile diet," promising to eat only foods grown nearby.

The locavores' guidelines: If not local, then organic; if not organic, then family farmed; if not family farmed, then local business; if not local business, then terroir. The idea is that the average 1,500 miles a food travels to get to your plate is a waste of energy and resources, and doesn't protect farmland where you live.

Think your own 100-mile diet would be dull as dirt? Bet you're wrong. Visit locavores.com and 100milediet.org to find out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This reminds me of my youth when I fled West Texas for LA. There were ALWAYS beautiful tomatoes on everything you might want to eat and in salad bars in LA. The first time I went back home for Christmas, my parents took me to some restaurant they particularly liked and I was APPALLED to see those pale pink, rubbery tomatoes on offer in the salad bar. What was this? I wondered. FYI: The very best tomatoes (other than the ones you grow yourself) are from an Amish greenhouse in Pennsylvania. I would pay any amount of $$$ for those.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a quote from a NYT article on ice cream in tomorrow's edition:

For $50, subscribers receive three pints of ice cream over three months, made from fruit and milk with impeccable agricultural credentials, in flavors like Coffee + Donuts (made from fair trade coffee and local doughnuts) and Blackcurrant With Gingersnaps.

I'm sorry, but in my world when doughnuts have joined tomatoes and lettuce and have become better or more desirable or more pure because they are local, and this a positive thing and a selling point, there is a line that has been crossed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a quote from a NYT article on ice cream in tomorrow's edition:

I'm sorry, but in my world when doughnuts have joined tomatoes and lettuce and have become better or more desirable or more pure because they are local, and this a positive thing and a selling point, there is a line that has been crossed.

Well, I don't know about you, John, but I certainly prefer donuts that have been made at the place where I buy them, still warm, if possible. I haven't read the article yet, but I'm a bit curious about the ice cream makers' definition of "local" as it applies to donuts. There's a guy downtown, who I have seen on a couple of Food Channel shows, who makes supposedly fabulous donuts in unique flavors. Then again, the Entenmann's bakery factory might be considered local in NYC. The words local and sustainable have become the latest incarnation of the natural healthy phenomenon of the 1980's and 90's, when marketers determined that we needed to be assured that every major manufacturer's product, full of highly processed ingredients though it might be, was good for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, given shelf life and delicacy, I suspect it's much more important for donuts and other pastries to be local than tomatoes and lettuce. This is why, even soulless chains like Dunkin' ("time to make the donuts") Donuts and Krispy Kreme make donuts on-premises.

Well, I don't know about you, John, but I certainly prefer donuts that have been made at the place where I buy them, still warm, if possible. I haven't read the article yet, but I'm a bit curious about the ice cream makers' definition of "local" as it applies to donuts.

Of course a fresh-made donut is way better than any other. I am even myself famous for bringing back, to DC and now NC, donuts from my hometown bakery because they are so good (they fry them in lard). I have sometimes been forced to hand them out to fellow passengers on airplanes. Donut quality is not the point I was going to, however.

I'll try to be more clear. It seems to me, based on the original quote, that the ice cream maker is trying to get legs out of the local source movement by applying it to donuts, in this case used as an ingredient in ice cream. My point is that this says more about local food source hype than the quality of donuts or of ice cream ingredients. A lot more. I think that extending the local food movement's aura of goodness and healthiness to toroids of fried dough is a little over the top. Perhaps I'm alone in that view.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That article made my head hurt :).

Since the focus of the article is on the cost of "artisanal" ice cream, they've got side-by-side (practically) examples of ice cream makers sourcing ingredients from all over the world and emphasizing local ingredients. Even the original example given above does that--fair trade coffee (which presumably comes from quite a distance to NY) and local doughnuts. And, I agree, stressing that the doughnuts are local is silly.

“Sadly, I think the marketing is just as important as the product,” said Benjamin Van Leeuwen, an owner of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream.
Yes.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that extending the local food movement's aura of goodness and healthiness to toroids of fried dough is a little over the top. Perhaps I'm alone in that view.

Buying food locally is not just about health, or even quality/flavor. It's also about supporting your local community and it's economy and it's also about doing what's best for the environment. So yes, for me, a product that contained donuts made locally (preferably with ingredients sourced locally as well) would hold higher appeal than one that does not and I would also pay more for it. In fact I do, every week at my farmers market. I can't speak to the motives of this particular company for specifying that the donuts were local, but I have no reason to assume it's profit over commitment to the local movement over commitment to providing what their customers are asking for, etc. It seems likely that it's a combination of factors. And I'm not really even sure why the motivation would matter as long as what they're saying is true - if there's a demand for it, who cares?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buying food locally is not just about health, or even quality/flavor. It's also about supporting your local community and it's economy and it's also about doing what's best for the environment. So yes, for me, a product that contained donuts made locally (preferably with ingredients sourced locally as well) would hold higher appeal than one that does not and I would also pay more for it. In fact I do, every week at my farmers market. I can't speak to the motives of this particular company for specifying that the donuts were local, but I have no reason to assume it's profit over commitment to the local movement over commitment to providing what their customers are asking for, etc. It seems likely that it's a combination of factors. And I'm not really even sure why the motivation would matter as long as what they're saying is true - if there's a demand for it, who cares?

Agreed. Is it pushing "local" a bit far when it comes to donuts? I don't know. Are donuts unworthy of the locavore movement? Thinking about that question is over-thinking, IMO.

Just...go to your local markets, talk to and get to know our producers and enjoy!! Life's too short to make my head hurt by pondering minutiae.

It's about community, and you can take pointers from the producers themselves. They trade foods with each other and use them in products, like Pecan Meadows using Keswick Creamery's quark in their whoopie pies, or Copper Pot's Stefano using Cherry Glen goat cheese in his tortellini.

One hand washed the other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rereading the article and cruising through the (pretty unhelpful) MilkMade website, it doesn't appear to me that the MilkMade is making a particularly big deal about the provenance of their donuts and, frankly, if I was considering paying absurd prices for premium "coffee and donuts" ice cream, I'd hardly consider it odd or pretentious for someone to assure that my donuts were not "sourced" from a chain store. "Homemade" and "house made" work as well. "Artisanal" or "handcrafted" would be pushing it.

If we're going to get all knicker-twisty about local stuff, I'd rather go back and argue about Eve's wine list.

Is it pushing "local" a bit far when it comes to donuts? I don't know. Are donuts unworthy of the locavore movement? Thinking about that question is over-thinking, IMO.

Agree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excerpt from the GQ article by Richman, specifically his niece's diary:

"We went to the People's Food Cooperative in Ann Arbor, where we do our grocery shopping. We're members and can vote on relevant issues. Mike and I have daily discussions. Today it was over garlic. I noticed right next to each other some nice-looking organic garlic from California for $4.99 a pound and also some not-as-nice-looking garlic that was not organic but was very local, from a nearby Michigan farm, for $8.99 a pound. I handed Mike the local stuff, and he put it back. I asked why, because I'm always trying to learn, since I don't seem to get it right. He said the local guy didn't bother to grow it organically and it's a big scam. He believes he can charge more because of the so-called local-food buzz."—Nicole

There's much more to dining ethically than just automatically buying local produce.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the Charlottesville City Market this Saturday, there was a booth offering local bagels, baked there, and also fresh, local donuts. Also wonderful grilled sausages from locally raised pork, served on locally baked buns from Albemarle Baking Company, and some delicious steak tacos. The Mexicans serving the tacos weren't local - well, come to think of it, they might be by now, or were perhaps in town waiting for the (early) grape harvest to begin - and I didn't ask where the beef came from. I'll put that under supporting local business. (And I agree with Waitman, this begs the question of local wines again ... )

Organic v local is another question, especially with wine grapes, considering the amount of sulfur and copper use in the vineyard that is apparently allowed under organic and biodynamic certification.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Local" is losing its meaning the way "gourmet" and "organic" did once marketing people started abusing the words. My real fear is that the quality of local produce is slipping. It seems that as more and more people buy from farmers markets and roadside stands, production increases and quality declines. My (formerly) favorite roadside farm stand is now selling local tomatoes that are utter crap. Almost uniform in size and color, they have incredibly thick skins, and the interiors are tough. Tough. I didn't think tomatoes could be tough. My (formerly) favorite local farm went through the same thing a few years ago, selling stone fruits and berries picked too soon, presumably in order to meet the hugely increased demand.

Buying local is pointless if the product is not good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Local" is losing its meaning the way "gourmet" and "organic" did once marketing people started abusing the words. My real fear is that the quality of local produce is slipping. It seems that as more and more people buy from farmers markets and roadside stands, production increases and quality declines. My (formerly) favorite roadside farm stand is now selling local tomatoes that are utter crap. Almost uniform in size and color, they have incredibly thick skins, and the interiors are tough. Tough. I didn't think tomatoes could be tough. My (formerly) favorite local farm went through the same thing a few years ago, selling stone fruits and berries picked too soon, presumably in order to meet the hugely increased demand.

Buying local is pointless if the product is not good.

Agreed heartily. Good, really good corn is hard to find, yet ears cost 50-75 cents. All during corn's season, there's at least one grocery store selling corn for 10 cents an ear. It's indistinguishable much of the time. Has anyone come across *amazing* corn this season? Either super sweet or deeply flavored?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems to me that this whole issue has gotten a bit confused. The locavore movement, as I understand it, is about the sourcing of ingredients within relatively few miles of where they are consumed. 'Local donuts' can be made on the premises using ingredients that come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. (Is there a sugar cane plantation nearby?) Certainly, having the donuts made in-house is preferable to trucking them in from far away from a giant donut factory. However, if the donut shop is in the Mid-Atlantic and the fruit from that jelly donut comes from California and the sugar comes from cane grown in the Caribbean, and the flour comes from a mill in the Midwest, how local is that? A distinction needs to be made between locavore (locally-grown and sourced ingredients) and house-made (product was assembled and baked, cooked, fried, etc. on the premises, from ingredients from various locations, some of which may be local).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems to me that this whole issue has gotten a bit confused. The locavore movement, as I understand it, is about the sourcing of ingredients within relatively few miles of where they are consumed. 'Local donuts' can be made on the premises using ingredients that come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. (Is there a sugar cane plantation nearby?) Certainly, having the donuts made in-house is preferable to trucking them in from far away from a giant donut factory. However, if the donut shop is in the Mid-Atlantic and the fruit from that jelly donut comes from California and the sugar comes from cane grown in the Caribbean, and the flour comes from a mill in the Midwest, how local is that? A distinction needs to be made between locavore (locally-grown and sourced ingredients) and house-made (product was assembled and baked, cooked, fried, etc. on the premises, from ingredients from various locations, some of which may be local).

Agreed. When I started this discussion (which DR subsequently folded into Zora's previous thread--my OP is now #9) my point was not that there is anything wrong with adding fresh made donuts to your ice cream, but that referring to those donuts as "local" struck me as trying to get a lift from the popularity of the "local" concept as applied to food, i.e. using it as a marketing gimmick. In short, we are seeing the beginning of local going the same route as "natural" and "organic." It will soon be degraded by its own popularity.

There is no doubt in my mind that somebody like Cambells Soup Co. will soon come out with something like a "Fresh Local" soup line, in which they source some ingredients close to, say NYC, DC, LA, etc., ship them to a soup plant in someplace like Amarillo Tx., make specific batches of soup using a particular place's ingredients, then ship it back to each of the localities for sale in a chill case or maybe the freezer. Don't laugh--it's only a matter of time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buying local is pointless if the product is not good.

Agreed heartily.

I remember about 15 years ago, Josh Raynolds (one of the best wine critics in the country (Josh, are you really not a member here?!)) told me that he was at a market in Marseilles (I think it was Marseilles), and there was an olive vendor with vats full of olives for sale. Behind the stall were the boxes the olives came in which said "Produit de Morocco." I didn't think much of it at the time, but it really does have a direct connection with this conversation.

Note: I've had fantastic Moroccan olives, but that's besides the point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember about 15 years ago, Josh Raynolds (one of the best wine critics in the country (Josh, are you really not a member here?!)) told me that he was at a market in Marseilles (I think it was Marseilles), and there was an olive vendor with vats full of olives for sale. Behind the stall were the boxes the olives came in which said "Produit de Morocco." I didn't think much of it at the time, but it really does have a direct connection with this conversation.

LOL- it is a quick skip over the pond-aka the Alboran, Balearic and Mediterranean Sea. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed. When I started this discussion (which DR subsequently folded into Zora's previous thread--my OP is now #9) my point was not that there is anything wrong with adding fresh made donuts to your ice cream, but that referring to those donuts as "local" struck me as trying to get a lift from the popularity of the "local" concept as applied to food, i.e. using it as a marketing gimmick. In short, we are seeing the beginning of local going the same route as "natural" and "organic." It will soon be degraded by its own popularity.

There is no doubt in my mind that somebody like Cambells Soup Co. will soon come out with something like a "Fresh Local" soup line, in which they source some ingredients close to, say NYC, DC, LA, etc., ship them to a soup plant in someplace like Amarillo Tx., make specific batches of soup using a particular place's ingredients, then ship it back to each of the localities for sale in a chill case or maybe the freezer. Don't laugh--it's only a matter of time.

Local for Campbell's Soups would be Camden, NJ. Yum, dipping into the polluted Delaware River for tasty morsels of....?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Local for Campbell's Soups would be Camden, NJ. Yum, dipping into the polluted Delaware River for tasty morsels of....?

I was of course speaking in generic terms, but Campbells has 20 plants in the US and nearly as many overseas; they no longer have a plant in Camden NJ however--just the HQ. There is a plant in Paris Texas, but alas none in Amarillo.

They are in many businesses other than just soup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the Charlottesville City Market this Saturday, there was a booth offering local bagels, baked there, and also fresh, local donuts. Also wonderful grilled sausages from locally raised pork, served on locally baked buns from Albemarle Baking Company, and some delicious steak tacos. The Mexicans serving the tacos weren't local - well, come to think of it, they might be by now, or were perhaps in town waiting for the (early) grape harvest to begin - and I didn't ask where the beef came from. I'll put that under supporting local business. (And I agree with Waitman, this begs the question of local wines again ... )

From the recent Alan Richman article on ethical eating."I started my journey with a few preconceived notions. Excused from ethical considerations, I decided, were birthday cakes; Communion wafers; your grandmother's cooking; lemons (since they are indispensable and grow in only a few warm spots); all ancient spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and saffron (since the spice trade basically created modern civilization); and wine, regardless of where it was from. Wine is as much about the land as it is about sustenance and deserves a cultural bye. "

"Local" is losing its meaning the way "gourmet" and "organic" did once marketing people started abusing the words. My real fear is that the quality of local produce is slipping. It seems that as more and more people buy from farmers markets and roadside stands, production increases and quality declines. My (formerly) favorite roadside farm stand is now selling local tomatoes that are utter crap. Almost uniform in size and color, they have incredibly thick skins, and the interiors are tough. Tough. I didn't think tomatoes could be tough. My (formerly) favorite local farm went through the same thing a few years ago, selling stone fruits and berries picked too soon, presumably in order to meet the hugely increased demand.

Buying local is pointless if the product is not good.

"and we liked it."

It seems to me that this whole issue has gotten a bit confused. The locavore movement, as I understand it, is about the sourcing of ingredients within relatively few miles of where they are consumed. 'Local donuts' can be made on the premises using ingredients that come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. (Is there a sugar cane plantation nearby?) Certainly, having the donuts made in-house is preferable to trucking them in from far away from a giant donut factory. However, if the donut shop is in the Mid-Atlantic and the fruit from that jelly donut comes from California and the sugar comes from cane grown in the Caribbean, and the flour comes from a mill in the Midwest, how local is that? A distinction needs to be made between locavore (locally-grown and sourced ingredients) and house-made (product was assembled and baked, cooked, fried, etc. on the premises, from ingredients from various locations, some of which may be local).

This is why locavore restaurants never serve bread or dessert (or donuts).

Agreed. When I started this discussion (which DR subsequently folded into Zora's previous thread--my OP is now #9) my point was not that there is anything wrong with adding fresh made donuts to your ice cream, but that referring to those donuts as "local" struck me as trying to get a lift from the popularity of the "local" concept as applied to food, i.e. using it as a marketing gimmick.

A cynic would suggest that it's been used used as a marketing gimmick from the moment the term was coined.

I remember about 15 years ago, Josh Raynolds (one of the best wine critics in the country (Josh, are you really not a member here?!)) told me that he was at a market in Marseilles (I think it was Marseilles), and there was an olive vendor with vats full of olives for sale. Behind the stall were the boxes the olives came in which said "Produit de Morocco." I didn't think much of it at the time, but it really does have a direct connection with this conversation.

Note: I've had fantastic Moroccan olives, but that's besides the point.

Those markets in France are chock full of bootleg stuff and wholesale produce. Sort of diminishes your awe of the legendary French femme du maison.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A cynic would suggest that it's been used as a marketing gimmick from the moment the term was coined.

True enough. But then all product descriptions could equally be said to be marketing gimmicks. The question is, at what point does it jump the shark? And that truly is the point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True enough. But then all product descriptions could equally be said to be marketing gimmicks. The question is, at what point does it jump the shark? And that truly is the point.

The shark has been jumped; your "local" donut article proves it.

I think the locavore movement has some admirable goals. I also think it underestimates the value people place on being able to get a variety of foods year-round, and the desire to eat food from traditions other than that of the local populace. The cultural exchange in ancient cultures was directly related to the search for new & different foods and spices, and that is still going on.

I'm not jumping on the locavore bandwagon. I can't afford it, and even if I could, I don't want to give up my non-local olive oil, sugar, spices, and Pocky. If restaurants want to buy locally, good for them, but it's not necessary to trumpet the provenance of every single ingredient. Sometimes I just want to order a cheeseburger without getting my knickers in a twist about where the lettuce came from.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The shark has been jumped; your "local" donut article proves it.

I'm not jumping on the locavore bandwagon. I can't afford it, and even if I could, I don't want to give up my non-local olive oil, sugar, spices, and Pocky. If restaurants want to buy locally, good for them, but it's not necessary to trumpet the provenance of every single ingredient. Sometimes I just want to order a cheeseburger without getting my knickers in a twist about where the lettuce came from.

I don't think "going local" means you would have to give up something like olive oil anymore than trying to add more vegetables in your diet means you'd have to give up meat. Things I can buy local without breaking the bank, I do. Things I can't, I don't.

PS - Totally agree that the NY Times article meant to say "homemade" and not "local." By that logic you can call anything that's proximate to you "local." It makes me want to puke in my local toilet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anyone come across *amazing* corn this season? Either super sweet or deeply flavored?

Yes, but it was down at the beach basically a stone's throw from the source. I have not found any great corn in the city this summer, even at farmers markets. Same goes for peaches.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but it was down at the beach basically a stone's throw from the source. I have not found any great corn in the city this summer, even at farmers markets. Same goes for peaches.

What is it about the beach? The best ever corn I had was Silver Queen from a farm/farmstand in VA Beach. Some of the corn this summer has been tasteless.

Peaches-Kuhn's are very good. 2 that I had lasted 2 weeks in the fridge and were still juicy and flavorful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the corn this summer has been tasteless.

That's funny that you mentioned that monavano because I was thinking the exact same thing, except applied to watermelons. I have been averaging a bit on the sweet side for the corn I bought, but I am not sure if it's because I've been roasting them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's funny that you mentioned that monavano because I was thinking the exact same thing, except applied to watermelons. I have been averaging a bit on the sweet side for the corn I bought, but I am not sure if it's because I've been roasting them.

I noticed it in the only tomato I've had from a Farmer's market this year. It was a Cherokee Purple that was given to me, and it tasted like water. If I had paid $4 a pound for it, I would not have been happy. I think the farmers have been irrigating a lot because of the awful weather, and, instead of no crop from the heat and drought, we are getting watery produce.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not found any great corn in the city this summer, even at farmers markets. Same goes for peaches.

:(Peaches? Really? Lack of water intensifies or concentrates the flavor of stone fruits. The ones I've had this summer have been amazingly good!

Same with small, local melons, that is, the great flavor vs. "benefits" of high heat and drought. As for corn, I only have been disappointed w the white varieties, but that is largely due to personal taste. White peaches, fine, but IM[NS]HO white corn is nothing but crunchy, wet sugar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:(Peaches? Really? Lack of water intensifies or concentrates the flavor of stone fruits. The ones I've had this summer have been amazingly good!

I got $20 worth of fairly tasteless peaches at the Takoma Market a couple of weeks ago. The advantage they had over supermarket peaches is ripeness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A cautionary note in today's NY Times. Click.

The best way to make the most of these truly precious resources of land, favorable climates and human labor is to grow lettuce, oranges, wheat, peppers, bananas, whatever, in the places where they grow best and with the most efficient technologies — and then pay the relatively tiny energy cost to get them to market, as we do with every other commodity in the economy. Sometimes that means growing vegetables in your backyard. Sometimes that means buying vegetables grown in California or Costa Rica.

This statement is not supported by any evidence. Energy is not the only reason to buy anything anywhere at any time. It is one factor. He even made that point himself. When an industrial farm is the lowest cost producer, we must ask are they truly reflecting the cost of their produiction. When Tyson's grows chicken in the Chesapeake watershed and contributes chicken shit to the ecosystem free of charge, what is the cost. When such chicken shit causes algee blooms that kill off acquatic life, what is the cost to society as a whole. When the farm workers in Costa Rica are affected by the chemical use in Costa Rica, what is the cost to you the consumer {BTW Costa Rica is home to some of the best, most environmentally sensitive farming I have ever seen and some of the worst}? When huge factory farming results in new virulent strains of bacteria that kill thousands every year and raise our medical costs and reduce the effectiveness of our antibiotics, who pays {BTW that antibacterial soap in your home, the same one my health inspector makes me buy, also contributes to the super bug problem}?

The problem is that everything is a commodity and that the producers of said commodities may not be paying the full cost of their damage to the economy and environment, either directly or indirectly.

I do not serve local produce at my restaurant because of supposed energy savings, but because it tastes better. When I can find Cal Organic Kale that tastes as good as Mcleafs, when I can find a Costa Rican tomato as tasty as one of Cinda's Cherokee Purples or Brandywines, then hip hip hooray! But until then, all I can say is CHICKENSHIT!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got $20 worth of fairly tasteless peaches at the Takoma Market a couple of weeks ago. The advantage they had over supermarket peaches is ripeness.

We tasted peaches from two different vendors, side by side the other day. The difference in flavor intensity was striking. Different varieties. Toigo's peaches had many times more flavor than Twin Springs'. Maybe insist on tasting before you buy next time?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This statement is not supported by any evidence. Energy is not the only reason to buy anything anywhere at any time. It is one factor.

True. It is also, however, the factor that is most often bandied about with zero science behind it. Because I've never really seen hard numbers, only heard the folklore, I thought the figures were interesting. The way I read the piece, I thought he was pointing out that we shouldn't consider energy alone when buying, which I believe is also your point. But I've got a garden out back and buy from local producers and businesses when I can, so I have a slanted view. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It has gone too far. I"m subsisting on tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers from my yard.

I've been trying to catch a bunny for weeks to no avail. I'm going to let the cat out and hope that she brings in a bird or mole...

In Vincenza they eat cat which will also leave less pressure on the fish population if you feed your cat commercial fish food! :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True. It is also, however, the factor that is most often bandied about with zero science behind it. Because I've never really seen hard numbers, only heard the folklore, I thought the figures were interesting. The way I read the piece, I thought he was pointing out that we shouldn't consider energy alone when buying, which I believe is also your point. But I've got a garden out back and buy from local producers and businesses when I can, so I have a slanted view. :(

I have a friend who was part of the marketing/political positioning of locovorism. I told him to his face that it is an idiotic proposition that locovorism is anything ore than a gimmick.

What is wrong with our food system is size, lack of market price paid for the right to pollute, government subsidies of all kinds {WFM faces a hell of a lot lower costs in our commodity marketplace of today than I would if I wanted to start a natural based product store} etc. What is wrong is that we subsidize foods that drive up our medical costs.

What is wrong is that you can make corporate crap and call it organic even if its impact is worse than a conventionally grown product.

What is wrong is that cowshit infected lettuce can expose millions of people to e coli 0157, a man made killer {it never was a killer before the prevalent use of antibiotics in agriculture.

What is wrong is that we are pouring so many endocrine interrupters into our environment that men are sterile at unprecedented rates.

What is wrong is that we pour so many hormones and pre hormones into our environment that little girls are going thru puberty at age 7 and earlier at rated that medicine cannot explain since they don't get paid to criticize the big agribusiness fuck who don't care as long as they make their mega millions.

What is wrong is that too many people don't give a flying fuck!

What is wrong is that our Congress is bought and sold by corporate America. Calling them whores is an insult to hard working sex industry folk everywhere!

Boy, I feel better right now! Better than Xanax! Thanks :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a friend who was part of the marketing/political positioning of locovorism. I told him to his face that it is an idiotic proposition that locovorism is anythingm ore than a gimmick.

What is wrong with our food system is size, lack of market price paid for the right to pollute, government subsidies of all kinds {WFM faces a hell of a lot lower costs in our commodity marketplace of today than I would if I wanted to start a natural based product store} etc. What is wrong is that we subsidize foods that drive up our medical costs.

What is wrong is that you can make corporate crap and call it organic even if its impact is worse than a conventionally grown product.

What is wrong is that cowshit infected lettuce can expose millions of poeple to e coli 0157, a man made killer {it never was a killer before the prevalent use of antiobiotics in agriculture.

What is wrong is that we are pouring so many endocrine interruptos into our environment that men are sterile at unprecidented rates.

What is wrong is that we pour so many hormoes and pre hormones into our environment that little girls are going thru puberty at age 7 and earlier at rated that medicine cannot explain since they don't get paid to criticize the big agribusiness fuck who don't care as long as they make their mega millions.

What is wrong is that too many people don't give a flying fuck!

What is wrong is that our Congress is bought and sold by corporate America. Calling them whores is an insult to hard working sex industry folk everywhere!

Boy, I feel better right now! Better than Xanax! Thanks :(

"What is wrong" = Clarity

"How to make it right" = Next step

Granted, you are already living that next step by your examples with how you source and make other business decisions. But the flying fuck apathy challenge, that's the toughest one of this list.

Systems thinking, S.O.S.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is wrong is that too many people don't give a flying fuck!

Granted, you are already living that next step by your examples with how you source and make other business decisions. But the flying fuck apathy challenge, that's the toughest one of this list.

I'll be the token optimist. I think that if people didn't care about the sources of their food, we wouldn't have the locavore movement at all, and with education re the real problems, changes really could come about. We've seen this trend recently with movements like "meatless Mondays." Yes, it's gimmicky, and yes, it's promoted by a celebrity chef or two, but they have brought people's attention to the problems with the industries mentioned above. Food habits are both physically and culturally ingrained, so progress will occur via small steps, but it will happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll be the token optimist. I think that if people didn't care about the sources of their food, we wouldn't have the locavore movement at all, and with education re the real problems, changes really could come about. We've seen this trend recently with movements like "meatless Mondays." Yes, it's gimmicky, and yes, it's promoted by a celebrity chef or two, but they have brought people's attention to the problems with the industries mentioned above. Food habits are both physically and culturally ingrained, so progress will occur via small steps, but it will happen.

And I would say that the industrial organic agriculture empire built is on net harmful to the envoironment on average. But it sure allows folk to feel good on those meatless mondays as they eat incredibly processed "natural foods".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This statement is not supported by any evidence.

.

I do not serve local produce at my restaurant because of supposed energy savings, but because it tastes better. When I can find Cal Organic Kale that tastes as good as Mcleafs, when I can find a Costa Rican tomato as tasty as one of Cinda's Cherokee Purples or Brandywines, then hip hip hooray! But until then, all I can say is CHICKENSHIT!

Actually, with respect to the carbon footprint aspect, it is very likely that the energy use of local food is greater, not less than, non-local food in many if not most cases.

The greatest single factor is that producing specific kinds of food in areas not best suited for those particular types of food invariably involves more inputs, including energy-intensive inputs, to make up the difference. A far-out example is New Zealand lamb, which can be produced so efficiently, including energy efficiency, that it can be gotten to retail market in the UK, and probably the US as well, for about one-fourth the total energy consumption of local production. Comparisons like this vary all over the map, literally and figuratively, for different products and different locations, but in the end the carbon footprint claim is at best on very shaky ground. In part it's because transportation's use of energy is dwarfed by the energy used in production, so even if transportation uses more energy (but see below) the total picture still typically favors producing in favorable places, even when far away, and transporting to market.

But let's leave aside seasonality and intensiveness of production methods for a moment, and consider simply the use of energy for farm-to-table transportation. Forgive the long drawn out arithmetic, but I'm making it as simple as I can. I hope i got it correct.

As an example take locally grown lettuce vs. California lettuce (worst case geographic comparison). Lettuce is shipped from California to the East Coast in semi-trailers, either pulled by a tractor truck or on a railcar. Let's say a semi-trailer holds about 20,000 heads. If pulled by a tractor (worst case) typically getting about 5-6 mpg, the load needs about 500 gal of fuel to get to an East Coast distribution center, or .025 gal/head. Add some extra because they don't always get a load the whole way back, and the lettuce must be on-carried to the final store in another semi-truck, so lets say the total is .03 gal. per head from farm to store, which at current fuel costs would be a little under 10 cents per head..

Compare that to a farmer bringing lettuce to a farmers market in a metro area such as DC in a typical pickup. Say he brings mixed produce that equates to 100 heads of lettuce, and his farm is about a typical 40 miles away. His pickup gets maybe 20 mpg. His round trip is 80 miles (return empty), so he burns about 4 gal., for a total fuel use of about .04 gal. per head. Already more than the California produce, but not really significantly different.

But now add the market to table part. Whether an individual is a locavore or not, everybody needs to go to the supermarket no matter what (think toilet paper, detergent, ice cream, etc etc. etc.). But the locavore needs to add a stop at the farmers market. Suppose that extra loop typically adds 5 miles of driving, at 25 mpg, and he/she buys the produce equivalent of 10 heads of lettuce. That requires .2 gal, or .02 gal. per head. So now the carbon footprint for transport of the local produce from farm to table is .06 gal per head, double that of the California produce.

Of course there is an infinity of different scenarios that will have different outcomes, but the essential point is this: the fuel used to bring food to the table from a long way away is not necessarily greater than for local food. Carbon footprint does not vary directly with mileage. Many other factors enter in, notably scale economies, and in fact it can and sometimes does go the opposite way.

Put another way, the claim that buying locally produced food results in reduced carbon footprint (food miles) is bogus. There are certainly good reasons to buy local, as Dean suggested, but the common belief that buying local automatically results in important fuel savings is not supported when "drilling down" (as it were) and looking at the whole picture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...