Food movements have been gaining serious momentum lately. The meanings of “just”, “ethical,” and “sustainable” food are all contentious. Biotechnology, organics, “free range” meat, vegetarianism and localism are but a handful of issues currently marinating in the proverbial stew. Historian James E. McWilliams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, specifically cautions us against diving too eagerly into that bowl of current popular assumptions espoused by local food proponents. With a respectful nod to the locavore movement, and the many excellent points it raises, McWilliams reevaluates the logic of food miles as the sole criteria for ethical eating. Instead, the lauded scholar underscores the importance of life cycle analyses, and points to issues such as scale as key factors to consider by consumers. Further, McWilliams demonstrates why vegetarian food offers the greatest ecological benefits.
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