Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eat ‘global’ - it's more sustainable than eating ‘local’

An excerpt from "The Locavore's Dilemma" by Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu in today's Post will be sure to set the 'eat local' crowd's hair on fire:
... Had resistance to innovation and change been more significant in the last two centuries, real income, life expectancy and food consumption would undoubtedly be much lower than they currently are, while infant mortality, food prices and hours worked, among other things, would have been much higher. Stagnation is fundamentally incompatible with any meaningful notion of sustainable development.
... we contend that modern practices are but the latest in a long line of innovations, the ultimate goal of which has always been to increase the accessibility, quality, reliability and affordability of humanity’s food supply. And if we may be so blunt, how many activists still use locally manufactured electric typewriters and copper-wired rotary-dial phones to spread their message and set up “grassroots” links between food consumers and producers.
... We have attempted to look beyond the anti-corporate, romantic and protectionist underpinnings of locavorism and to illustrate the rationale behind improvements in food production, processing and transportation technologies, along with the benefits of an ever broader division of agricultural labor.
... The available historical evidence tells us that locavorism, far from being a step forward, can only deliver the world our ancestors gladly escaped from and which subsistence farmers mired in similar circumstances around the world would also escape if given opportunities to trade. It would not only mean lower standards of living and shorter life expectancy, but also increased environmental damage and social turmoil.
An excellent read.


Frances said...

I don't know - look at the prairies and you get beef, beer, and rye whiskey, with a few root vegetables in season. For some, that's a great diet.

Anonymous said...

I'd probably go for the locavor diet but damn, no matter how hard I try, the banana palms and orange trees just won't grow.

Powell Lucas

Anonymous said...

I would go for local -- problems is the health standards are not the same in China or Mexico -- one needs to see the multiple contamination of meats & vegetables from foreign countries to see the same quality control does not exist.

if you can ensure the quality control exists then I would agree with your premise.

When I was in China -- the haze over Beijing when a 50% reduction in pollution existed prior to the 2008 Olympics -- it was bad -- made Hamilton look like a green heaven at it's worst.

why are we selling out?

gerry from gta

JR said...

What is our assurance of quality control from myriad 'local' producers?