Filed under: Cars + Transport, Energy + Climate, Food + Health, Society + Media | Tags: environmentalism, green eating, greenhouse gas, locavores, word of the year
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.
Locavores 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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