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Why it's hard to eat local

It's the (lack of) infrastructure, stupid. (More here.)

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  Food  
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Easy to eat local. During the summer, anyway. Grow your own fruit and veggies. Then you know you're eating local. Like, out of the backyard. Garnish it with a little non-local meat or prepared food, sure, but you can eat local out of your own backyard.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 31, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I thought the whole 'locavore' thing was about **fruits and vegetables**, where flavor and texture often gets sacrificed in order to grow a product that will look good in the grocery store after being transported across the country.

I'd never heard that locally raised and slaughtered cows and pigs and sheep made for better steaks and pork loin and lamb chops than those slaughtered halfway across the country.

And how about dental floss? Does it make a difference if our dental floss is locally grown, or is it OK if it's shipped all the way from (drumroll: Montana?

Posted by: rt42 | March 31, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Meh. Just eat less meat. It's only hard to eat locally in colder climates where the growing season is shorter. (For those who would have us city folk grow vegetables and fruits in the middle of, say, Chicago: think again. I grow herbs and tomatoes in pots on my roof deck, but much more than that might cause the roof to cave in). As for locally slaughtered meat? Well, I suppose it produces a smaller carbon footprint ... but then just eating meat less often can do that too. I buy a (fairly) local organic turkey at Thanksgiving and Tallgrass beef (actually from Kansas, but that's not too far). I rarely eat local fish: that would mostly have to be smelts. I don't think so.

Posted by: JJenkins2 | March 31, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse


I was just thinking this morning, "I wish Ezra Klein would post more about food again. He didn't even mention that NYT piece on local food infrastructure."

JJenkins2: I don't think it is an either/or question. Eat less meat AND make sure it's responsible! But it sounds like that is what you do.

Posted by: nwgates | March 31, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

From Ezra's 'here' link:
"That's why I was thrilled to see Sunday's New York Times piece on how a shortage of infrastructure is hampering the growth of local and regional food production."

It's not the lack of "...infrastructure, stupid". It's the fact that small, boutique little organic farms can't match the efficiency of larger operations.

I Wonder if Ezra's electronics, car, shoes and clothes were made locally.

Posted by: spamsux1 | March 31, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

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