Some of the follies of trying to eat only locally-grown food.
The Food Section
The San Francisco Chronicle
To the Editor:
Comic relief. Some of us carefully pore over the daily newspaper in search of a little comic relief from the increasingly depressing events of the 21st century under the illegitimate Bush regime. To my surprise, I found some comic relief in the recent Food section in the front-page lead article, "Diet for a sustainable planet," (The Chronicle, June 1) which reexpresses a very ancient reactionary and medieval prejudice of only eating foods that are grown locally.
These modern local food advocates, self-described as "locavores," are probably better described as "loco-vores." They would appear to have way too much time on their hands. They have arbitrarily created a so-called local "foodshed" as that area within one hundred miles of home. Travel distances of up to one hundred miles one-way would allow a lot of diesel fuel to be consumed in delivery trucks. This very large area encompassed in a circle with a radius of one hundred miles would cover some 31,415.9 square miles, which is larger than the combined area of our five smallest states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire) and only slightly smaller than the State of South Carolina (32,008 square miles).
This notion of eating only locally-produced food was codified exactly one thousand years ago by Pope George Richard, who in 1005 A.D. stated it in his thesis, Eatus In Localum. This farsighted Pope could see that the Christian Crusades in the Holy Land, the budding spice trade and resulting contacts with other cultures would slowly lead to a lessening of church power and influence that would be followed by the Renaissance, the Reformation and then the rise of secular humanism in the coming centuries.
These four women "locavores" happily support the raising, killing and slaughtering of cows, chickens, turkeys, sheep, pigs and other animals, just as long as it is done "locally" and with said animals being "pastured" in grassy fields before being killed. These animals would probably be thinking, "Charmed, I'm sure...".
Why don't these self-decscribed "locavores" take the next logical step and become "nativist-locavores," by limiting their diets to only truly native plants and animals originally found in the San Francisco Bay Area? Let's see, that would be a diet of acorns, cattails, grass seeds, wild berries, roots, fish, shellfish and wild deer. Hmm, a little short on the carbs, perhaps?
Over the past few years we have been lectured about the supposed virtures of vegetarian diets, organic diets, low-fat diets, high-carb diets, high-grit (roughage) diets, whole-grain breads, half-grain breads and even no-grain breads. Now we are being treated to the spectacle of politically-correct "localism" diets. Oy Vey.
The gang of four locavores wildly assert that the current interstate and international food trade is "not sustainable." No more coffee beans from Hawai'i, Central America or Columbia. No more tea from Ceylon or China. No more apples from New Zealand. No more grapes from Chile. Who is to say, with any degree of confidence, what is now and what will be sustainable in the future? Not to worry, for when gasoline hits $10/gallon, we will be riding the bus, BART, bicycling, walking, skateboarding or unicycling.
If these concerned conscious folks really want to do something positive for future generations and "sustainability" they could help by not reproducing. That is, don't have children. This spinning blue ball we call home would undoubtedly be must more able to handle the environmental burdens of the activities of the human race if we reduced our numbers by say ninety percent (90%) over the next hundred years. Any proposal for "sustainabililty" that does not include a massive reduction of human population is clearly just more worthless bourgeois baloney.
James K. Sayre
4 June 2005
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