Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Newest Way to Show Off: Go Locavore

By now you’ve probably heard of the locavore food movement, generally defined as only eating food grown or raised within a 100 mile radius of where you live. Great if you live in, say, San Francisco where the movement began. Not so wonderful if you live in the thorn brush of deep south Texas, unless you really enjoy prickly pear puree and javelina barbeque.

The idea behind local eating is that the food is fresher and it’s more environmentally friendly, not only because it promotes varied land use but because the food doesn’t have to be trucked or flown great distances in fossil-fuel burning trucks and planes. It’s also good for the local farmer and rancher who, as we all know, are a dying breed.

Part of me, the crunchy con part who shops at Whole Foods and takes long nature hikes, wants to laud this movement. The other part of me, the wise-ass contrarian part, wants to point and laugh at the pretentious urban hipsters who have found yet another way to broadcast their privilege while acting all concerned for the Earth.

Can you imagine what kind of effort and expense it takes to only eat food from within 100 miles? When you drive a Lexus, you’re saying “I have more money and better taste than you.” When you go locavore you’re saying “not only do I have more resources and better taste, I am more morally attuned.” Too critical? Of course. But it’s hard to deny the element of snobbery in the locavore movement.

Guess I’ll just have to stick with my Whole Food artisanal French cheeses and line-caught Atlantic salmon. That’ll make me look so much less pompous than those arrogant locavores.

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Blogger Tom Strong said...

True - but there's a populist side to it as well. See Michael Pollan's description of the Salatin farm and its customers.

Also, many local WIC programs now offer farmer's markets outside their offices.

I worked in natural foods retailing for five years, and can attest that there's quite a bit of interest in local foods among the poor and working classes, as well as among Berkeley elites.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

You'd definitely know a lot more about this than I do. I'm glad to hear it is more broad-based than I believed. I've only ever read about it in context of rich urban folks. Maybe that says something about the publications I read.

8:42 AM  

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