The Vancouver Sun is running a feature this week called “Feast or Famine”, all about the global food crisis, local eating, urban farming, organic farming, and other related topics. Unfortunately they got one of their regular columnists, Miro Cernetig, to write a ‘contrarian’ piece about the 100-mile diet, which is truly awful. I guess a backlash is a sign of success, but they could have tried harder to find someone willing to investigate the really interesting problems with relocalization and trying to eat locally.
The argument seems to be something like:
- Privileged people with money can buy food and wine from everywhere; therefore that is a good thing.
- Eating locally hurts small farmers in the third world. (I don’t want to talk about agri-business.)
- Hey, I thought we were all about fair trade. You guys changed the rules again! Miro is confused.
- Eating ethically is hard; so why bother trying?
- As soon as food travels more than 100 miles, it becomes evil.
Here’s the peroration:
But if eliminating CO2-heavy food from our diet is the new imperative, it also means you have to feel guilty about buying anything not grown within a 100-mile radius. How is that going to help the world’s peasants trying to sell their beans to us?
So, to be honest, I’m not into the 100-Mile Diet and never will be. I love my 40,008-Kilometre Diet. I don’t even feel guilty about it. In fact, I celebrate eating a mango and drinking a glass of bubbly from the other side of the planet as one of the heights of human achievement.
I mean, didn’t we spend millennia getting to this point as a species? From Alexander the Great to Rome’s Caesar to the British nabobs, building global empire was often about expanding the food chain, as much about finding tea as gold.
Global epicureanism is part of human evolution. And now it’s here.
Horrible, horrible, horrible.