Rachel hits Cru (“underappreciated things can really shine”) and the Kitchen (“you really should order the crab cake”), a book review of Just Food (which makes the case against much local, organic food growing), Dara will be on stage with Ruth Reichl (and has begun the promotional blitz for her book, Drink This: Wine Made Simple), and follow Aaron of The Captain’s Chair as he live-tweets the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine // Feasting on the Bounty of the Upper Midwest
I’d like to read McWilliams’ book to give him a fair chance, but I seem to remember after this article came out some people were pretty dismissive of him as a reactionary with a very limited research scope. Amy Boland addressed the food miles issue on Simple Good and Tasty and provided links to research in the comments, but I wonder if those studies and McWilliams’ studies speak past each other.
It caught my attention because one of his overall points seemed pretty reasonable — that if you simply measure food miles without measuring fertilizer output, electricity, etc. etc. it becomes an overly reductive metric. My general take is that food miles, organic food, and so forth are good starting points for discussion, but also need to be further refined and understood as concepts.
I agree with you about starting points for a discussion. I think the reaction against local or organic food is partly due to so many of their proponents taking preaching their benefits as self evident (e.g. local food has a smaller carbon footprint, organic food is more nutritious than conventional). That attitude seems to grate on certain people, and I can sympathize. I have my personal reasons for being into local and (less-so) organic food, but I’d have to do a lot more research before I could get self-righteous about it.
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