Local food, local goods, local everything is in, as you’ve no doubt heard. Local is fresher. Local burns less shipping fuel. Local keeps the wealth nearby.

Naturally, there’s money to be made off local, so big businesses are muscling into the game. The emerging term is localwashing—a variation on greenwashing wherein businesses claim to be local when actually … you get it.

“The ingenuity of the food manufacturers and marketers never ceases to amaze me,” said author Michael Pollan, who’s done more to articulate the need for local in the food realm than maybe anyone else. “They can turn any critique into a new way to sell food. You’ve got to hand it to them.”

Here’s a look at some prime examples of that ingenuity/absurdity/deception.


Citgo-localCourtesy NEAFP.comCitgo: “Local. Loyal. Like it should be.” The crop of new billboards from the petroleum company owned by Hugo Chavez’s Venezuelan government makes sense only if the rather undemocratic president lives around the corner from you. Which he doesn’t.