Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Locavore's Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-mile Diet, by Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu

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I was excited to read this book because I thought it might give me a different perspective from so many of the other "where your food comes from" books I've been reading lately (Robin Shulman's Eat the City, Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals) and I thought it might give me a few reasons to feel good about buying food off the grocery store shelves. After all, eating sustainable, organic, local and environmentally sustainable food (or SOLE food) is harder, right? It takes time to read all those labels, to stay informed about where food is produced, how it's processed, how long it takes to ship, etc., etc. And that's on top of all the nutritional information I have to keep track of. Surely it would be easier to just pick up whatever's on sale and be done with it. I thought maybe this book would offer some reasons (or at the very least rationalizations) for why it's okay to do that sometimes.
     Instead, The Locavore's Dilemma is a
response to the SOLE food movement, but only to very specific aspects of the movement. In other words, the authors are only answering the questions they want to answer and, in most cases, only the questions they have written themselves. They've deliberately misinterpreted and misunderstood the objections of people who critique factory farming methods or those who promote seasonal, locally sourced food. And most of their responses, even to the objections they do address, are dripping with condescending ridicule. They might as well have called the book, "Shut Up and Eat What We Give You, You Naive, Romantic Hippies!" Would it sell as many copies? I don't know. It might sell more.

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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