From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Potentially edible!

Food and Diet

Fabulous food!
Delectable diets!
Bodacious bods!

Locavore is a clever name for someone who tries to eat food produced locally. A reasonably well-known locavore phenomenon is the 100-mile diet as popularised by the eponymous book. Locavores may not be constrained to a 100 mile sourcing radius depending on location.[1]


[edit] Philosophy

In general, the goal of locavorism is sustainable food consumption. The theory is that if local growers are supported, money is kept in the community to support local jobs. As well, local food may sustain a lower carbon cost; however, this has been challenged by critics (see Criticism). Other arguments relate to soil nutrition and environmental economics. Paraphrased from one proponent: imagine that the town of Bristol purchases 10,000 pounds of wheat flour from Alberta. Unless Bristol ships back an equivalent sum of food and/or faeces, the soil nutrients of that wheat flour have now been removed from Alberta and put into a non-food-producing region. The latter philosophy seems sound regardless of carbon cost differences.[2]

[edit] Local food and food woo

On the surface, locavorism is fairly down-to-earth and normal. It may be combined with an interest in Organic food, in the process removing some of the problems with organic food production (and maybe creating some of its own). Many self-identified locavores are, however, really big on the food woo side of things; anyone Rationalist in joining locavore communities should therefore approach said communities pre-armed with some foreknowledge of what is woo.

[edit] Locavorism and gardening

Quantitatively,[3] the best local food is food from one's own garden. This removes most of the criticisms associated with locavorism. Many locavores are big fans of the idea of using community greenspace to create public gardens where bored people can grow carrots that hungry people can eat.[4] This is sort of socialist, and obviously will therefore result in the spread of atheism and an increase in underage prostitution and cats marrying dogs. Other than that it's probably a great idea.

[edit] Criticism

Margaret Thatcher famously said that there is no such thing as society. Suppose you are a software engineer making smartphone apps. Even if support local agricultural jobs, it is hard to believe that the community wil repay in kind, buying only local smartphone apps. It is similarly unlikely that the local agricultural workers will use only smartphones or even clothes designed and manufactured in the local area.

One core argument of many locavores is in favour of the intuitively lower carbon cost of eating local. However, this may not hold true: economies of scale apply to carbon cost, and the carbon cost of multiple farmers driving to a farmers' market and multiple customers driving further than their supermarket to reach said farmers' market is likely higher than the carbon cost of an efficient mass production machine from much further away.[5] Additionally, the job production difference between supporting the industry of local farmers versus supporting supermarkets and shipping businesses can be debated.[6]

Many foodies from barren wastelands see locavorism as something that other people in the lush fruitbaskets of the world can enjoy in their pampered, milk-and-honey lives. Hardcore locavores rarely get to eat bananas, for example. However, just as with organic food, not all locavores are absolutely strict in their consumption habits.

Plus, unless you live near the manufacturing plant, you'd have to give up Doritos.

[edit] References

  1. Indeed, in Northern Alberta the 100-mile diet could easily be called "starving"
  2. But if someone with a better knowledge of soil biology can outdo me on this, I'm all ears.
  3. using numbers and scales I made up myself in my brain, but which are also probably nonscientifically correct
  4. How they'll prevent the unscrupulous from taking the food and selling it is another matter.
  5. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919208000997
  6. But not by me. Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not an economist.

Personal tools