Yet another weird SF fan

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Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Can't Both Sides Lose?

I'd rather not take sides in the local vs. organic controversy. It's a fight between two tribes of cavemen.

I noticed an odd claim by the local side:

My favorite definition of local comes from Columbia's Gussow, a reporter for Time in the 1950s who went on to become a local-eating pioneer. For 25 years, Gussow has lectured on the environmental (and culinary) disadvantages of relying on a global food supply. Her most oft-quoted statistic is that shipping a strawberry from California to New York requires 435 calories of fossil fuel but provides the eater with only 5 calories of nutrition. In her memoir, Gussow offers this rather poetic meaning of local: "Within a day's leisurely drive of our homes. [This] distance is entirely arbitrary. But then, so was the decision made by others long ago that we ought to have produce from all around the world."
Does this clown really think the Board of Directors of Evil Capitalists, Inc. really sat down one day and decided to make non-local foods popular? Are they force-feeding maple syrup to people outside New England? Are winter fruits and vegetables in the northeastern United States offered at gunpoint? Did they have a Five-Year Plan to enable people in the midwestern United States to eat salt-water fish? I'm reminded of paleoconservatives who think that immigrants are being forced into the United States. (Come to think of it, that's another type of pro-local opinion.)

I'd also like to know the relevance of comparing the calories of a strawberry to the calories of flying the strawberry. (According to other sources the comparison is about flying the strawberry.) It looks like the comparison was cooked twice: first by examining a low-calorie food (maybe we should only ship candy bars) and second by examining a fossil-fuel intensive mode of transportation (maybe we should ship food by nuclear submarine).


Blogger Jonathan said...

The people who make the "eat local" argument don't seem to understand the concept of division of labor. And of course they never take their argument to its logical conclusion: that one shouldn't buy any non-local products (assuming that is even possible, which is another question). Some of these people really are that dumb, but I suspect most of them are in it because it gives them a chance to do some fashionable posturing at low cost. However, how such foolishness could come to be fashionable I have no idea.

3:14 PM  

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