Locavore vs. Vegan
Earlier this week the Earth’s population reached 7 billion, prompting renewed concerns about sustainability, including the issue of food production. Several weeks ago we mentioned the locavore movement, and this week the topic has been raised in many news reports, opinion pieces, and blogs.
More communities are also developing gardens and farms, partly as a way of greening the urban environment and partly in response to the increased demand for local sources of food. New York has its Riverpark Farm, located in the heart of Manhattan, and a program called Local Roots, which supports local farmers. Meanwhile, in London there’s FARM:Shop, part of an initiative to convert unused urban buildings into indoor gardens, highlighting how much food can be grown in a confined space.
Some non-vegans argue that, in terms of the environment, the most important consideration is the distance various foods travel to reach our supermarkets and restaurants. They advocate eating locally-produced food, not eating vegan.
For some vegans, the choice to be locavores is the next logical step. But for most of us, the choices seem more complex and it’s a matter of priorities.
Steph Larsen, who links the concern with food availability to food justice (see Food Democracy) and the current Occupy movement, chooses to grow her own produce. She does point out, however, that there are some limitations to the locavore way of life:
Of course, I don’t grow everything I eat. Flour, for example,
takes a lot of work to grind in small batches, and I much prefer
someone else to rise at the crack of dawn to milk a cow or goat.
For these things, I do my best to shop at small, locally owned
businesses to keep my money circulating in the community, and
bypass the corporate control that the 99 percent are protesting.
We’d love to hear your opinion. What do you think of the locavore movement? Are vegan’s better environmentalists? Can we still enjoy good food AND care for the environment?
Below are seven articles on the locavore/vegan discussion (reblogged from Vegan Soapbox).
1. The Locavore Myth: “There is one thing you can do to shrink the carbon footprint of your dinner: Take the meat off your plate. No matter how you slice it, it takes more energy to bring meat, as opposed to plants, to the table.”
2. Green Your: Meat: “A study by Carnegie Mellon University scientists has concluded that eating less meat will reduce carbon emissions even more than purchasing food locally.”
3. Food miles don’t feed climate change – meat does: “An analysis of the environmental toll of food production concludes that transportation is a mere drop in the carbon bucket. Foods such as beef and dairy make a far deeper impression on a consumer’s carbon footprint.”
4. Why In-Vitro Meat Is Good For You: “Arguments against eating meat are often made on grounds of cruelty and personal health, though, ultimately, the most compelling argument may be ecological: Meat requires extreme amounts of resources to produce, and consequently carries a vast environmental footprint.”
5. Even If Meat Isn’t Murder, That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good For You: “A meat-eater driving a Prius contributes more to climate change than a vegan driving a Hummer. By now, it is broadly understood that eating less meat would relieve a bit of pressure on our sullied atmosphere by lightening the methane load.”
6. Food That Travels Well: “Buying local is not necessarily beneficial for the environment.”
7. Going Veggie Can Slash Your Carbon Footprint: “What counts is the way we feed ourselves … production and consumption first and foremost of beef and milk must be cut drastically.”