Localvore movement questioned in new study

As the Hook reported in April's "Green Issue," the environmental benefit of the localvore movement– as exemplified by our own City Market and community-supported agricultural companies– has its skeptics. Now, those critics are armed with brand new hard data. A study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University finds that transport accounts for only 11 percent of food's carbon footprint, only four percent of which comes from farmer-to-vendor transport.#


Okay, but if you buy from a farmers market and don't use or consume packaging, you also reduce the carbon footprint even further. Add to that the fact that by buying local you are supporting farmers more likely (but not certain) to use organic or sustainable farming practices means even less 'oil in your food'. "Factory" farms have to cover those transport costs, which gets into your food through cheaper farming techniques, be they fertilizer, bio-engineered plants, or imports from other countries where labor and land costs are lower. It's not that transported food can't be raised in a sustainable manner, it just isn't in any CEO's profit plan to make that choice.

Eating locally-produced food is about a whole lot more than carbon footprint. Just think about the development implications. To whatever extent the sale of locally-produced food provides economic incentive for landowners to farm, that allows land to have value for purposes other than development. Consumers, by their buying choices, permit rural land in this area to remain in agricultural production. No tax subsidies. No government regulation. This is a way for us to vote for rural land preservations with our pocketbooks. Buy local. Eat local.