Friday, January 18, 2008

“Locavores” - incipient food nazis

I always enjoy William Watson’s wit and wisdom. In his column yesterday the topic is the agriculture economy and the growing AGW/green-inspired eat-local-and-save-the-planet movement:
[My bold]
'Buy local' is just the latest bid for protection from our tiny, shrinking agricultural sector [...] counting only what farmers actually sell brings them down to 0.57% of GDP.
[...]
.... a "locavore" is a devotee of the "local food" movement. Eating locally, which ... agricultural protectionists have been recommending ... ever since the first turnip peddlar wheeled his wagon in from the next settlement over — seems to be the next green fad.
... one movement member ... said local eating is so popular because it's voluntary: "We're not telling people to do something ? We're telling people to try something." How long will it be, though, before the Minister for Local Food tells us the time for trying is over, now we must do?
... another locavore [is quoted] as saying: "Why would we be buying garlic in China when we could go out to our garden and dig it?" I can think of six reasons for starters:
1. I have a skating rink in my backyard and don't really want a garden.
2. If I had a garden, it would currently be covered with snow.
3. I'm not good at gardening.
4. Doing other things I'm better at allows me to make income I can use to buy garlic.
5. The Chinese do garlic well and sell it for less. ("Save money. Live Better.")
6. There are things we'd like to sell China that they won't buy if we boycott their garlic.
And, oh, a seventh: Most of the world's poor people would like to try to better themselves selling us food. Should we really tell them to "Stuff It"?
But what chance does good sense have in the face of green mania? My bet is we're about to reverse four centuries of progress ...[and raise the farmer’s share of the GDP]
It’s hard not to notice grocery stores getting-with-the-fad and increasingly pushing ‘local’ and ‘organic’ produce labels -- often to the detriment of choice and quality. So I believe Mr. Watson. It won’t be long before the green ‘revolution’ has our living standards (not mention the rest of the world's) driven down to former Soviet lows.

1 comment:

Bob in Ottawa said...

Ha! Mushrooms and maple syrup make for a pretty lean diet until the fiddleheads arrive in late April. =P