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Locavorism vs. Resource Efficiency

By Pierre Desrochers -- July 18, 2013

“By concentrating the growing of crops in ever more suitable locations, hydrocarbon-powered long distance trade not only maximized output and drastically lowered prices, but also significantly reduced the environmental impact of agriculture.”

“Turning our back on the global food supply chain and, in the process, reducing the quantity of food produced in the most suitable locations will inevitably result in larger amounts of inferior land being put under cultivation, the outcome of which can only be less output and greater environmental damage.”

An article of faith among local food activists is that modern industrial agriculture damages the environmental more than decentralized food systems. The article of faith is that concentrated impacts are worse than multiple, smaller operations–negative environmental  scale economies, as it were.

This belief is erroneous, creating a gulf between (good) intentions and result.