Time Magazine: Is Local Food Going Mainstream?

The cover of Time's March 12 issue shows an apple with a yellow sticker and the words: "Forget organic. Eat Local." We wouldn't go that far, things aren't that simple in real life, but it's interesting to see that local food is getting more airtime after the last few years when organic food took almost all the space on stage. Inside the magazine is a 6-page piece by John Cloud. His starting point is a dilemma between buying an organic apple from California (he is in New York) or a "conventional" apple ("that sounds better than 'sprayed with pesticides that might kill you'," he says) from New York state. The whole point is that food shouldn't just be good for you, it should be good for the whole system too, so organic food that is shipped halfway around the world might cause more harm than "conventional" local food. The best of both worlds is of course community supported agriculture (CSA) that is both local, thus seasonal, and organic. In some cases it might be worth buying organic food that comes from slightly farther away than "conventional" local food because you are voting with your dollars and encouraging more organic production (eventually local producers will switch if there is enough demand) and you are helping protect topsoil, groundwater, etc. These benefits can sometimes offset the extra shipping. But when the organic food comes from much farther away than the local food, local is the way to go (or just substitute with another type of food that you can find as local & organic). But most important, take the time to enjoy your food!

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