3.04.2007

Time does local foods

Time Magazine's cover story this week is about eating locally. It is a decidedly mainstream article - for people already waist deep in local eating, it will likely be annoying and a bit bizarre in its viewpoint. But for those without toes wet yet, it is just a good and general introduction to the point.

I suppose I'm just happy to see the mainstream media addressing it - as they have been now in spurts and bits for the past year. A cover story in Time is as mainstreamas it gets - which, I hope, translates into sold out Saturdays for growers all summer long at the farmers' markets.
Here's their press release - with a link to the complete article, available online for free, no login required:

For Immediate Release
On Sale Friday, March 2

TIME COVER
FORGET ORGANIC. EAT LOCAL
The Best Food You Can Eat May Be in Your Own Backyard

(New York, March 2, 2007)—In this week's issue, TIME's John Cloud reports, "For food purists, `local' is the new `organic,' the new ideal that promises healthier bodies and a healthier planet Organic adherents take it on faith that the way food is grown affects its nutritional quality. But advocates of local eating are now making another leap, saying what happens after harvest—how food is shipped and handled— is perhaps even more important than how it was grown."

Cloud's quest to determine which kind of food is healthier, safer, tastes better and is best for the environment leads him to Whole Foods ceo John Mackey, whose chain grew to prominence, in part, by making organic food accessible to millions of Americans. The chain now has more then 190 locations and sales grew by 19% in 2006. Mackey tells TIME that even he prefers local grown food to organics. "I would probably purchase a local nonorganic tomato before I would purchase an organic one that was shipped from California," he says. Cloud writes that Mackey "called the two tomatoes `an environmental wash' since the California one had petroleum miles on it but the nonorganic one was grown with pesticides. `But the local tomato from outside Austin will be fresher, will just taste better,' he said." Mackey also says that most Americans will never eat a purely local diet. "One of the challenges of being a retailer is you don't want to offend people," he tells TIME. "Some customers want to eat apples [year-round]

, and they're willing to pay more for a New Zealand apple."

Cloud's extensive reporting—which includes joining a Community Supported Agricultural (csa) program that delivers fresh local food to his house each week—leads him to conclude that he prefers local to organic. He writes, "In matters of digestion, I prefer science over culture. The problem is that science offers no clear guidelines yet on how beneficial organic food is."

"When it comes to my basic ingredients—literally, my `whole' foods rather than my convenience foods—I would still rather know the person who collects my eggs or grows my lettuce or picks my apples than buy 100% organic eggs or lettuce or apples from an anonymous megafarm at the supermarket. Choosing local when I can makes me feel more rooted,and (in part because of that feeling, no doubt) local food tastes
better."

The March 12, 2007 issue of TIME goes on sale on Friday, March 2.
Read the complete story at TIME.com:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ article/0,9171,1595245,00.html
Download this week's cover image at
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/current

Media Contacts: TIME PR HOTLINE, (212) 522-4800 Daniel Kile, (212)
522-3640; Betsy Burton, (212) 522-3651; Dara Yaffe, (212) 522-0613


Oh, and speaking of CSAs, there are still plenty of shares left in the Seacoast area for the 2007 season.

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