Wednesday, September 2
JUST FOOD: a book reviewed
Implicit in the first class discussion on what food is (from an energetic and biochemical point) is the question of sustainability, which will will pursue throughout the semester. Although there are many facets to the notion of "sustainability," one has to do with where our food comes from. A farmer's market just open in my neighborhood and I am going today, excited about the possibility to buy more food that I know is locally produced. Some are convinced this is the key to responsible eating, and some even go by the moniker of "locavores" to assert the local nature of how they fill their bellies.
A review of a book that is critical of the locavore movement & philsophy just came out today in the Christian Science Monitor. The reviewer for the sums up the argument of the author, James McWilliams, as such:
An emphasis on local foods, he writes, crowds out more complicated but accurate gauges of environmental good only because, in his view, it is as much about “identity politics and anticorporate angst” as it is “the realistic achievement of a more sensible system of food production.”
The review seems fair-handed enough, but comes down on the side of McWilliam being a bit of a grouch on the matter, perhaps taking too much an aim to the hipsterism of locavores than anything else. Maybe, as the saying goes, he is "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" in his critique of an otherwise well-meaning practice of eating local?
NPR just interviewed McWilliams, Michael Pollan, and others on this topic of sustainability.
We'll be following up in the idea of bio-regionalism, "food miles," etc. later in the class, but timely mention as you start into our exploration of the ecology of food...