Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Local food, national broadcast

Local foodMonday, this blog posed the question, "Are consumers paying more attention to where their food comes from?" Some evidence of that trend--A national radio broadcast titled, "Eating Local, Thinking Global."

National Public Radio's "Science Friday" featured a discussion with author Brian Halweil (Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket) and Dr. Jennifer Wilkins, a Kellogg Food and Society Fellow and a senior extension associate at the Division of Nutrition Sciences at Cornell University.

Their topic: The movement toward local agriculture. Host Ira Flatow anticipated a popular show, opening with this aside to listeners, "I know you're going to call us, because we always get lots of calls on this topic." The wide-ranging discussion covered topics from the taste of locally grown tomatoes (superior), to school lunches (inferior, but getting better), to the farm bill.

Both Halweil and Wilkins discussed the energy cost of our food system, with Wilkins noting that for every calorie we consume, about ten calories of fossil fuel are spent, and Halweil providing an analogy: "[T]his long-distance food system, is really only efficient in the same sense that a coal-fired power plant is efficient: It produces energy, but only if you ignore all the smog that's coming with it." Both also pointed to a growing consumer interest in how food gets from farm to table. Wilkins noted the disconnect between what dietary guidelines tell us to eat, and what our production system supports. Both offered suggestions for consumers interested in bypassing, at least on occasion, the industrial food system.

You can listen to the show by clicking this link.


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