Today Forbes.com published a piece I wrote with Henry Miller, who is a fellow at the the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. The piece is on local foods, and now (in the winter, at Christmas) is perhaps one of the best times to think through the logic of locavorism.
Here are a few snippets from the beginning:
The Christmas season brings visions of candy canes, cider and sugar plums dancing in the head. Unless, that is, you’re a committed locavore who has scorned peppermint, sugar beets and apples, because they’re not found in your neck of the woods in the summertime, much less the dead of winter.
The desire to help out a neighbor or even a local farmer can be a noble one, especially in this gift-giving season, but sentiment shouldn’t keep us from thinking critically about the consequences of forcing municipal hospitals, schools and other institutions to source an arbitrary percentage of their food locally.
and the end:
If we are to live by the locavore’s mantra that we will consume only what can be made locally, we had better board up our chimneys on Christmas Eve. No matter how magical are his reindeer or how benevolent his elves, we daren’t accept Santa’s wares because, well, the vast majority of them are made far away. No self-respecting locavore would be caught dead sucking on a candy cane made at the North Pole.
Yet, St. Nick is a good guy and deserves our respect and patronage as much anyone else. The same goes for our local farmers. If we trust our local farmer to give us what we want and you do the same, then surely we can trust your local farmer too. And your local farmer is probably better at growing some things than ours. So as we send holiday greetings to dear friends far and wide, let’s not demonize those who want to do the same with food