Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Michael Pollan has suggested that we should force schools
to acquire a portion of their foods within 100 miles, but local
food is already an option for schools, and denying schools
the option of importing foods simply makes it more difficult
for them to access healthy foods within their budget con-
straints. If local foods were really cheaper and healthier, the
schools would already be purchasing them. The secretary
of agriculture under President Obama has even said that,
in a perfect world, no region would import or export any-
thing, a comment that could not be more contrary to basic
economic principles. Anyone who believes that a “perfect
world” would require Lockney, Texas (population: 2,056) to
produce its own iPads or sugar has a very distorted grasp of
economic principles.
In a perfect world, everything that was sold, everything
that was purchased and consumed would be local, so the
economy would receive the benefit of that . . .
—Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture, in “Tom
Vilsack, The New Face of Agriculture,” Washington
Post , February 11, 2009, accessed September 3, 2010, at
Is There Any Reason to Buy Local Other Than Food Quality?
In more recent years locavores have backed away from their
claim that local food is better for the environment and local
economy. They still make these assertions, but with less brio
and more attention to other aspects of local foods. Even if
spinach grown down the road is of the same quality but costs
more, has a larger carbon footprint, and does not help the local
economy, there is a reason we might want to encourage people
to buy it. That reason has to do with our culture and attitudes
towards food.
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