My favorite In-Defense-of-Slow-Food-Inc type food — i.e., locally grown or raised by small farmers with nothing artificial using only wind-powered barns that houses cows that live in the bovine version of Canyon Ranch spa — is Natural by Nature milk. Which we do buy in this house, although we always call it Naughty by Nature. But I just adore the name ‘Natural by Nature.’ How many “natures” can we cram in this name here? Only one? That’s not nature-y enough! We must stand out from our competitors, Artifice by Nature and Mechanics by Nature!
Last night, I was listening to Marketplace on NPR and there was a piece on how to have a climate-friendly meal. Low carbon footprint, reduced food miles, etc. The answer, it turned out, was something involving oysters, kale, and turnips and which everyone on the radio insisted was Really Delicious, and climate-friendly too! Although forgive this listener for suspecting that, like many dishes that vegetarians or otherwise healthy eaters concoct on a restricted diet, ‘Really Delicious’ only applies if your taste buds haven’t acclimatized away from, you know, delicious food.
But it got me wondering. Why is there an obsession with the shipping of food products, and not much concern about the greenhouse emissions of other kinds of shipping? Why do environmentalists focus so much of their energy (so to speak) on food? Why is bottled water the sole villain here? Lots of stuff is shipped internationally. Why aren’t activists focusing on that? Is there something I’m missing? Is purchasing online more wasteful than buying in a store? Would be useful to know. Now, there are some people talking about it (inconclusively, and with a scribbled-on-a-napkin sort of math – would be nice to see a real study). But why doesn’t it trickle down into the community the way food does? Our local Whole Foods labels where all its produce is from. I know of no other kind of store, even one that caters to the solar panel set, that does that. It may well be that I am out of touch and people are beating the drum about this. But I don’t hear it. What am I missing?