Time Magazine's current cover story is Eating Better Than Organic by John Cloud, in which he explores the debate between buying local and buying organic. Which is better for the food system, food grown by a small farmer locally or one grown by a big organic firm that uses large-scale industrial methods? Is buying local food that might have been treated with pesticides better for the environment than organic food that's been trucked, shipped and flown from far away, using up tons of fossil fuels? Which tastes better? Cloud asked Whole Foods CEO John Mackey for his opinion:
He told me that when he can't get locally grown organics--and even he can't reliably get them--he decides on the basis of taste. "I would probably purchase a local nonorganic tomato before I would purchase an organic one that was shipped from California," he said. He called the two tomatoes "an environmental wash," since the California one had petroleum miles on it while the nonorganic one was grown with pesticides. "But the local tomato from outside Austin will be fresher, will just taste better," he said.
Cloud goes on to check out restaurants dedicated to local ingredients, like New York's Blue Hill which sources 80% of their food from within the New York region, or the free restaurant at Google HQ in Mountain View, CA called Café 150, which only uses food produced within 150 miles of them, as well as joining a Community Supported Agriculture, which lets you subscribe to a local farm and receive fresh produce every week or month.