Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food) spoke to a UC Berkely audience about eating local but not making a religion of it. From an article at InsideBayArea by San Francisco-area chef Aaron French:
While [Pollan] recommends shopping at farmers markets and growing your own food, he sees plenty of justifiable exceptions to the locavore's mantra of only eating foods produced as close to home as possible.The energy it takes to transport food can be offset by a number of other complicated factors.
"I don't think we should buy all-local anyway," says Pollan, who says he is reluctant to give up his Italian-produced pasta.
Asked how he expected economically challenged people to afford the high cost of natural foods, he admits, "It's hard to grow good food and we don't pay enough." Another attendee raised the argument of saving time; a tempting byproduct of convenience foods."We now spend an average of two hours a day on the Internet," he says, "compared with less than 1½ hours per day shopping, preparing, eating and cleaning up our three meals a day. It's simply a matter of reversing our priorities."
How many people will value good food over cheap, convenient food? This is an issue I expect to come to a head this year, as the cost of our food continues to rise. From the Boston Globe:
Many analysts expect consumers to keep paying more for food. Wholesale food prices, an indicator of where supermarket prices are headed, rose last month at the fastest rate since 2003, with egg prices jumping 60 percent from a year ago, pasta products 30 percent, and fruits and vegetables 20 percent, according to the Labor Department.