Pierre Desrochers knows how to serve up controversy. When an acquaintance mentions she follows a 100-mile diet to help the environment, Desrochers calmly asks how much energy it takes to heat an Ontario greenhouse.
When a colleague lauds local food as more nutritious than products shipped thousands of miles, Desrochers politely points out that the diet of a 19th-century German peasant consisted of lentils and peas.
Now, the University of Toronto Mississauga geography professor has published a controversial new book that goes beyond polite mealtime conversation and pits what Desrochers calls the “romanticism” of local eating, or locavorism, against the realities of a global food-supply chain.
Desrochers is the co-author of The Locavore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-mile Diet, in which he argues that we should stop obsessing about how many miles our food has travelled to get to our dinner plate.
“Three centuries ago most people were eating local food,” Desrochers says. “Why do we think the world moved away from that? There are significant benefits—particularly, environmental and economical—in collaborating to produce food in the best geographic locations.”
The 10,000 Mile Diet
This article, Shop locally, eat globally? , appeared in today's edition of our university bulletin. I thought it was worth posting a link because, unfortunately, many of my relatives, friends, and colleagues think you can support a large city by only eating food grown within one hundred miles (161 kilometers).