In her new book Locavore, author Sarah Elton argues that we need a local food revolution. University of Toronto associate professor Pierre Desrochers argues that globalization is the best way to reduce our footprint and feed the planet. Who’s right in this e-mail fight?
Sarah Elton and Pierre Desrochers
Globe and Mail UpdatePublished on Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2010 7:14PM EDTLast updated on Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2010 10:15PM EDT
I hope you don't mind if I call you a local food naysayer.
Right now, our industrial food system is not sustainable. It uses too much fossil fuel and is destroying the environment – we are eroding our soils, chemical fertilizers are destroying our waterways and oceans. The only way we can feed ourselves into the future is by cultivating local and sustainable food systems.
I hope you don't mind me calling you an eco-doomster :)
Soil erosion and unsustainable agricultural practices were what made environmental activists tick in the first decades of the 20th century. But back then, the main fear among activists was that traditional agricultural practices were not sustainable. You might have heard of the dustbowls of the 1930s, but many people believed that the problem was truly worldwide at the time.
Fortunately, modern agricultural practices, especially innovations such as no-till agriculture that are based on the development of new seeds and herbicides, have gone a long way in addressing those problems. Modern farming in the best locations and increased international trade is the way to go to improve human nutrition while addressing environmental degradation.