Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

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Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:29 am

Since the term "food miles" and the slogan about "eating local" appeared I have been generously poo-pooing these notions. A bit of support for my arguments that eating local is silly and that the concept of food miles is little more than a quasi new-age jargon can be found in the article at http://www.reason.com/news/show/129855.html *


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*Not an endorsement of this site or its publications but only a reference to this specific article.
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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:23 am

Channeling Robin: "KOCH!!! KOCH!!!"

Not that it's relevant to the actual facts. The paper they link to is tremendously interesting and (from what I can tell as a rank amateur economist) correct. "Food Miles," like "organic," is more of a political/fashion statement than anything real.
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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:48 am

Stuart, Hi.....

Agreed with you. And that is what they seem to be saying as well.

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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Shel T » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:02 pm

So why stop there, if you're gonna be an 'activist', no excuses, go the whole way. Along with "food miles", let's have "clothes miles" so that all these jerks who insist on buying local to save the planet will be walking around naked...now that isn't a pretty picture!
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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:07 pm

Shel T wrote:... so that all these jerks who insist on buying local to save the planet will be walking around naked...now that isn't a pretty picture!



Shel, Hi.....

That, my friend, depends almost entirely on the beauty and/or grace of the person walking about naked.

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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Shel T » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:15 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:
Shel T wrote:... so that all these jerks who insist on buying local to save the planet will be walking around naked...now that isn't a pretty picture!



Shel, Hi.....

That, my friend, depends almost entirely on the beauty and/or grace of the person walking about naked.

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Rogov


Guess you haven't taken a good look at one of these typical "activists" lately Daniel, LOL, guarantee it is not a pretty sight!
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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:20 pm

Ah for the wisdom of the ancient Greeks whose sculptures were most often of pubescent boys and girls. Those ancient Greeks knew full well when the human body was at its best. And then I think of the well known statuette of "Hercules Urinating" (was that Balzac or someone else). A great work of art involving a too-too well-used body.

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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Ian Sutton » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:51 pm

For me, 5 food miles or 40 food miles make little difference. It SHOULD mean fresher, which we'd all go for, but it's not always the case. Sometimes the mistake is in dealing in large consignments, rather than getting (say) 25 apples today and 15 tomorrow. Better to get something guaranteed to be fresh and tasty, than a more reliable selection of old and tired.

We're lucky where we are, that there are a large number of local farm shops, but I do prefer the ones where they're outlets solely for their own produce (or that of neighbours), rather than the supermarket-a-likes with little local produce and most of the same crud that the supermarkets stock. The real issue, is the 000's of miles for bland fruit & veg, when there are tasty seasonal versions that really ought to be the staples on which base our shopping and cooking.

So, in principle I'm for the concept of flagging food miles, but recognise with the criticisms that in itself it doesn't define the quality of what you get.

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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Matilda L » Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:13 am

Whether or not the concept of food miles is or is not a flawed indicator of sustainability, I still scratch my head about the fact that unless I go looking for it, I often can't buy locally produced stuff easily. Why is all the garlic at the local veg outlet labelled "product of China"? Can't we grow garlic here? Well, I know for a fact we can, and do - so where is it going? Are there Chinese shoppers scratching their heads wondering why the only garlic in the store is labelled "product of Australia"? I scan the information on tuna cans looking for where it comes from; most of it seems to come from Thailand. Even that canned by the company that operates a large tuna cannery in Pt Lincoln, over on the Eyre Peninsula. Who gets to eat all the tuna the West Coast fishermen catch? We often see dried apricots for sale, "product of Turkey". Well, what happens to the apricots grown in our own state? We see some of them, but ... ? Yeah, the global economy and all that. But it's surreal all the same.

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Re: Controversy is Good For Us: The Question of "Food Miles"

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:33 am

Google "economies of scale" and "law of comparative advantage."

FWIW, when I lived in California, I drank mostly French wine.
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