Recently, eating local has proliferated in America, especially for members of the upper-middle class who can afford to purchase food that is, typically, more expensive. “Locavorism,” as it’s sometimes called, is yet another “movement” which Americans just cannot WAIT to jump on. Many praise locavorism because it stimulates the local economy, reduces eating’s impact on the environment, encourages healthier eating, and increases the transparency of where exactly food comes from.
Here’s what the proponents of locavorism DON’T acknowledge:
- If people spend more of their money at farmer’s markets, while food vendors will have more money to spend, people will be left with less capital to spend within the REST of the local economy. (Sorry kids, we can’t go skating, but enjoy those apples because they were $4/lb!)
- According to an article on The Daily Beast, “In the United States, the long distance transportation of foodstuffs is approximately one twentieth as significant in terms of environmental impact as food production itself.” This means that eating local isn’t necessarily what will help the environment, but rather reducing the amount of chemicals used on the food and types of farming techniques.
- Although eating locally may be healthier during summer, when most fruits and vegetables are being harvested, what about wintertime? If consumers are only eating the produce grown locally in somewhere like Pennsylvania during the heart of winter, their diet is going to be pretty limited.
- Locavorism doesn’t necessarily increase food security. Just because you saw the farmer who grew your strawberries doesn’t necessarily mean the food was grown in a safe, clean environment. According to “Why Locavorism Doesn’t Make Us Happier, Healthier, or Safer,” locavorism is like “putting all of a community’s food-security eggs in one regional basket as opposed to relying on multiple distant suppliers,” in this context, it seems it may be safer to go to your local grocery store and get food that comes from all over the country. At least if your food has diverse backgrounds (like my clementines that are imported from Nicaragua), there’s less of a chance that one problem with farming will affect ALL your food sources.
The reason that I chose to focus on locavorism in today’s blog post is that it is one of the many “changes” that Americans have made to “save the environment.” Sure, we’re perfectly happy to buy local food and make a huge trend out of it (kind of like getting more fuel efficient vehicles, right?), but we don’t make any fundamental changes to how the foods are produced. If Americans are going to try to stop the major effects of climate change, we need to make some serious changes. Not just ones that look good on Instagram.