The Locavore’s Dilemma

The Locavore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000 Mile Diet, by Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu attempts to debunk the most heartfelt beliefs of the local food movement. The counter arguing tone gets a kick-start in the introduction by an actual Missouri industrial farmer, and then goes on to take academic pot shots at the far left and agri-intellectuals, which, depending on the case, or relative position on the political/philosophical spectrum, are alternatively benign, counter-productive or outright dangerous.

They target foodies and urbanites that get a fix from the agrarian charms and tastes of farmer’s markets,  heirloom varieties and organic produce; and the far left, often the low hanging fruit in assuming self-righteous anarchist opposition to industrial farming and globalization (a different kind of critique than the antics of Portlandia); and in the process, dismissing or underestimating the real virtues and intangibles that may amount to simply a more elevated form of eating – no small part of society – in the future. Or that local food production may still be at the beginning of a long trajectory. By contrast, Desrochers and Shimizu  celebrate free markets and the global food chain – an evolving system that has nearly abolished hunger, improved food safety ten-fold, and delivered a bewildering variety of meat and produce to the local supermarket. But the argument seems out of balance, nearly as hard line as those being targeted (even if they’re just trying to make a point – or worse, goaded by the publisher to pick a fight) – that the potential for  the best of both worlds seems lost.

Which side of the argument, or in what degree, local v. global develops is hard to know. The reviews are divisive. A lumber company blog isn’t the place for an analysis of the food safety, economics and environmental issues swirling within the complex world of local food. Maybe just how the analysis translates to “local lumber”.