I read this story in the paper yesterday. (How quaint!) Star Tribune had one of their “let’s print two differing opinions side-by-side” opinion features.
Local foods make a difference vs. Local foods don’t really make a difference.
Greg Breining, the “anti-local foods” guy, makes all the usual arguments, including the one about how the transport of food is only one small part of the fossil fuels needed to grow food.
Steve Calvin, Mr. “pro-local foods,” doesn’t pretend that eating local is going to save the planet, but makes more of a “every little bit helps” kind of argument.
Both writers agree that it’s good to know where your food came from, and eating locally is one way to do that.
I’m not going to pretend to be a hardcore locavore. I’m hardcore about organic, but there are several things that I am not willing to give up, such as coconut milk and at least some tropical fruits, especially during the winter.
The biggest place you can make a “locavore” impact is by buying all your meat from local, small (or small-ish) farms who practice humane, more sustainable animal husbandry than factory farms. If you do nothing else “local,” you can still make a huge difference in the meat department. And not just for the environment: for your own health as well.