The Freakonomics folks are stirring up the anti-locavore pot once again, this time with a guest post by James McWilliams, a historian and the author of the forthcoming book Just Food.
The thrust of McWilliams' argument is this: In many regions of the country it makes no economic, environmental, or eating sense to adopt a locavore diet, because the climate or the land itself doesn't lend itself to locavore practices.
There is no news here. Locavorism taken to its illogical extreme in places with short growing seasons (like New York and the entire northeastern U.S.) is neither practical nor desirable unless:
1. We are willing to eat only canned, preserved, and frozen vegetables eight months of the year
2. We are willing to forego exotic fruits where we live.
McWilliams on locavore logic:
That kind of logic sends us back to never-never land. Unless one can envision the government in a place like the United States telling citizens and corporations that they cannot settle in a particular region because the resources do not conform to a locavore vision, we’re back to the thorny reality that some places simply cannot justify, on environmental grounds, a localized food system.
So McWilliams is telling us something most serious eaters already know, namely, that it's not practical in most parts of the country to be pure locavores. Duh!
So what should serious eaters who love to eat delicious things and care about sustainable agriculture do? Support their local farmers by eating as much local food in season, and eat bananas whenever you feel like it.
Oh, yeah, one more thing:
Don't read the Freakanomics blog for eating advice. To paraphrase the great Bob Dylan, you don't need the Freakonomics weathermen to tell you which way the food winds are blowing.