Financial blogger Felix Salmon has an essay in Foreign Policy called “How Locavores Can Stop World Hunger.” Salmon normally focuses on issues involving economic crises, monetary policy, complex derivatives, macro-economics and governmental oversight of financial markets — but here is talking monocultures, sustainable agriculture and GMOs. Tom Philpott has opined on the similarities between financial and food crises, so perhaps it’s not too surprising.
In this case, Salmon has expanded into a longer essay a blog post he wrote after attending a panel discussion on world hunger at Davos in the company of Blue Hill Farm’s Dan Barber. Salmon posted at the time on Barber’s criticism of commodity crop monoculture-based agriculture, which is itself worth a read.
Salmon concluded with the observation that “people think of the locavores as solving a luxury problem of how to eat healthier and more delicious food in rich countries, and they’re not asking whether they have anything to teach with respect to big questions like world hunger.”
For better or for worse — and do correct me if I’m wrong — I think this is really the first time someone has taken the term locavore and applied it to subsistence farmers in Africa. As Salmon writes:
Locavorism, the latest trend in yuppie food politics, is clearly a boon for the environment. Eating vegetables from local farmers and small farms cuts down on emissions from transporting foods; reduces chemicals in the soil because small farms are more likely to be organic; and invariably tastes better, too. But locavorism may be about more than smug new-wave chefs blissing out over Vermont ramps and heirloom garlic: “Locavorism” might be the key to food security and better nutrition for all.