The dark side to local eating?

I recently read the (UK based) article “How the myth of food miles hurts the planet” from The Observer.  The premise of the article is that the environmental impact of food cannot be simply judged by its “food mile”.  

The author has three arguments. Produce from Kenya is grown using manual labour, thus more environmentally friendly, and  has a smaller carbon footprint than some British mega-farm produce even when you consider the airfreight. Buying local greenhouse lettuce is not really better than importing the field grown ones from Spain – the transportation costs are offset by the greenhouse heating costs. The local apples in August that were picked last fall use  energy to be kept cold for nine months. 

It really made me think about my local eating philosophy.  I think that an important part of eating locally is eating seasonally, and with all things in life – moderation is key.  Our main reason to eat locally is to support our local farmers and to eat fresh and tasty food.  

What’s your reasons for eating local? 

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It always amazes me how people continue to invent excuses to justify an unsustainable lifestyle. First, the greenhouse argument. Buying local means buying fresh food in season and not relying on produce grown in a greenhouse. Second, the manual labour argument. The argument states that produce grown in another country not only uses less petroleum to produce the food but that the difference is great enough to offset the oil used to transport the food. It is difficult (probably impossible) to trace how much manual labour was used to produce any particular vegetable in another country and to buy only… Read more »