Does Locavorism Keep It Too Simple?
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Does Locavorism Keep It Too Simple? book
James McWilliams has a problem with locavorism. It is, in his phrase, “simplistically smug”—a phrase that evokes a range of criticisms of locavorism made by McWilliams and others. The task of this chapter is to consider some of those criticisms. Locavorism is the practice of buying locally grown food. A first criticism is that buying locally is an overly simplistic approach to making the food system more environmentally sustainable: Buying locally will make little difference to the environmental impact of our food consumption, and might even be counterproductive. This is McWilliams’s primary criticism of locavorism, and one that has many other critics of locavorism have made. A second criticism is that buying locally is an overly simplistic approach. The local food movement’s endorsed mechanism of social change-that consumers choose to buy locally grown food-is unlikely to be effective and could blunt efforts at more radical change. A third criticism is that the local food movement, and more generally the alternative food movement, has an overly narrow set of priorities and largely ignores the needs of low-income people.