J500 Media and the Environment


on the (farming) fence by jessicasb

I’ve taken to shopping at the farmers’ market, and I buy local milk in glass containers to support a family business and not waste plastic.

Local eating is nothing new, but in 2007, it became the hot topic of the ‘green’ movement when New Oxford American Dictionary named “locavore” the word of the year. 

local eatingLocavores are people who eat locally grown ingredients for a variety of reasons: it’s fresh, it supports the local economy and it reduces the carbon footprint of shipping food.

But when researching criticism of the locavore movement, I was pretty surprised.

James McWilliams, an associate professor of history at Texas State University, is skeptical of locavorism because he believes it sets up a regional food system that is nearly impossible to reach everywhere.

An article in Environmental Science and Technology finds that greenhouse gas emissions associated with food are dominated by the production phase, 83% in the average U.S. household, compared with transportation being responsible for 11% of it.

I’m torn. So many aspects of the ‘green’ movement are black and white. Driving less? Check. Taking shorter showers? Duh.

But when it comes to eating, it becomes tricky. What should people care about when they go grocery shopping? Their local economy? Meeting new people at the farmers’ market? The amount of greenhouse gases it took to produce their dinner? Type of packaging?

The locavore movement is a trend, just like Uggs. Some people love them, some people hate them. Its popularity may make local eating a hit in the meantime, but its trendiness doesn’t guarantee a long shelf life. It ultimately comes down to what aspect of the ‘green’ eating world people care about the most. 

And while I’ll continue buying local milk, I’m still on the fence about what aspect of ‘green’ eating is most important to me. What’s the most important to you?

— Jessica Sain-Baird

Thanks to gochie* on Flickr for the photo.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I agree that it’s a start, but what can we do to push it along?
I feel like I am not doing enough.

Comment by tylerw09

Tyler,
Make little changes in the way you buy food. That’s what I’ve been doing… if you can’t buy everything organic, just buy some food items organic. And if you can’t buy all of your produce at the farmer’s market each week, just go when you can. It makes the goal of eating healthier and more local an easier of a goal.

Comment by jessicasb




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